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Stein: Stotts Expected to Stay; Allen Must Decide on Olshey, Backcourt

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In his New York Times newsletter, Marc Stein addressed rumors regarding Terry Stotts’ status as head coach and what Paul Allen must be thinking.

NBA: Miami Heat at Portland Trail Blazers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

In his most recent newsletter, Marc Stein from the New York Times shared his thoughts on the Portland Trail Blazers and whether they plan to keep Terry Stotts around as head coach after their first round sweep at the hands of the New Orleans Pelicans.

While he touches on the Blazers question marks as a whole this offseason, here is the money quote on Stotts:

Throughout the Blazers’ first-round sweep by New Orleans, there were rumblings around the league that Stotts’ job was in jeopardy and that teams such as Orlando and Phoenix were ready to pounce if he indeed became available. But that talk has largely quieted since Portland’s early exit.

The latest word in coaching circles is that the Blazers prefer to keep Stotts heading into the final year of his contract — as they should. (I would argue Stotts should be up for an extension, but perhaps that’s a topic for a future Corner Three.)

There’s a reason Stotts is wildly popular with actual Blazers fans beyond his whole “PhotoStotts” alter ego. It’s largely because he’s gotten the most out of pretty much every roster he’s had there, particularly in the three seasons since LaMarcus Aldridge defected to San Antonio in free agency in the summer of 2015.

Stein also discusses Neil Olshey’s job security and whether or not the Blazers need to break up Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum:

In the wake of that humbling first-round exit, Olshey preached patience, announcing at a season wrapup news conference that he would advocate a “measured” approach to the Blazers’ inability to cope with New Orleans after finishing third in a rugged Western Conference.

If it’s up to him, Olshey said, Portland will “not overreact” to one bad series. (The Blazers have indeed lost 10 consecutive playoff games, but six of those losses were inflicted by Golden State.)

What remains to be seen is whether Olshey will be making those big calls, or if the Portland owner Paul Allen — now that Allen is no longer occupied by his Seattle Seahawks’ business in the N.F.L. draft — will keep his lead basketball decision-maker in place amid considerable consternation in the Pacific Northwest about the Blazers’ flawed construction.

I’m already on record, in the very first edition of this newsletter, as having predicted that 2018 would be the calendar year in which the Blazers decide that they have to break up the Lillard/McCollum partnership to try to overcome Portland’s otherwise limited options to balance the rest of the roster. Olshey, for the record, has repeatedly made it clear that he has no interest in trading Lillard or McCollum.

The most pressing question, then, actually is: What does Allen want to do next?

While it remains to be seen what Allen is thinking, many Blazer fans will be relieved to hear that Stotts is likely to return next season. We at Blazer’s Edge are just thrilled that Stein knows about “PhotoStotts.”

To subscribe to Stein’s in-depth email newsletter, click here.