The hot start the Portland Trail Blazers have gotten off to this season, after five straight appearances in the NBA Playoffs, appear to put Blazers Head Coach Terry Stotts in strong position at the team’s helm. That might not be the case, however, according to Mitch Lawrence of Sporting News. In the wake of Tyronn Lue’s firing by the Cleveland Cavaliers, Lawrence speculated on other organizations whose head coach could be on the hot seat. Stotts not only made the list, Lawrence quotes sources saying the coach already made a request for a contract extension from late owner Paul Allen and was denied.
In a startling revelation, Lawrence writes:
After his Trail Blazers, No. 3 in the West, were shockingly swept from the 2018 playoffs in the first round by the underdog Pelicans, Stotts gave serious thought to leaving. He had Phoenix in mind, as the Suns were looking for a head coach and had identified Stotts as a leading candidate. But they were denied permission to interview Stotts, leading some to think he was on firm ground back in Portland.
Perhaps not, as Stotts’ wishes to get an extension were turned down by Paul Allen, according to Portland sources.
Given Allen’s recent passing, the current circumstances have gotten understandably murkier.
With this season and next season to go on his contract, Stotts’ position is now considered tenuous by rival GMs and scouts. One big reason: Allen’s recent death has put a cloud over the franchise.
Lawrence reports that the impending ownership transition has left everyone questioning longer-term decisions.
”Right now, it’s all in limbo in Portland because no one knows what the Vulcan people are going to do,” one Western Conference executive said. “If the team gets put up for sale, then there could changes that extend to the top basketball people, above Stotts.”
Stotts’ current contract runs through 2020.