Mr. Blazer or Mr. Paycheck?
It was not all that long ago that we posted about our Coach and what we in Rip City thought about him. The consensus was that Nate is doing a heck of a job, but it LMA or Roy wanted him out he would see the door.
Last week we were hit with the news that Nate declined the opportunity to negotiate a new contract and instead wanted to “earn” it. Since this is a slow time (between the Draft and before summer league) sports radio and the blogs lit up with the little nugget nestled in the Oregonian.
So what does this all mean? First, it is important to note that we here at the OG support Nate and feel he is one hell of a coach. Look at our team last year. No one outside of Portland expected much of us after Oden went down. And in all honestly, not many in Portland expected a .500 season. A lot of that has to do with our team, but lets not forget that Nate lays the foundation. So we are on record as supporting our coach.
So….why the big deal that Nate said he wants to earn his contract? He never said he wants out, he simply said he signed a 5 year deal and he will honor that deal….good enough right? RIGHT?? Well not really…at least for some.
Let’s not forget that Nate left Seattle on his own and was rewarded with an excellent contract. He has shown he is not afraid to leave a comfortable place and go for the money. If Mr. Sonic could leave the Sonics like that he could surely leave the Blazers just as easily.
Portland’s new sports radio station 95.5 The Game (which by the way provides amazing Blazer-related content ever day…thank god) was buzzing. Every explanation was discussed, every opinion was given, and Nate himself even went on Wheels After Work to explain his words.
Here is a quick rundown of what Portlanders think about Nate’s situation:
1. He is holding out for lots of money
2. He is being honorable and serving his contract and will deal with it later.
3. He is going to bolt for another team in 2 years.
4. He is not the coach for this team
5. ETC, ETC, ETC
So, let’s cut through all of this and look at it from the one standpoint that has not been discussed.
First, Nate makes $5 million a year. A top tier salary for a coach in the league. Phil Jackson makes $10 million a year, top of all coaches. If the Blazers wanted to extend Nate right now you would see him get a jump in salary. Probably $2 million a year or more. Just to be conservative and for sake of argument we will say he would get a $1 million jump per year. So an extended contract at the minimum of $6 million a year keep him at the top of the league, and very happy. Its hard to turn down $6 million a year. So, we all know Nate turned down some serious cash. Let alone the fact that the team wants to keep him…job security and money is hard to pass up. So why do it?
Well, that is easy. Nate wants more money. Just like any player, or person in a job if they see the ability to make more they will go after it. So why does this concern people? IT SHOULD NOT. Let’s look at this from a different angle. If Nate were to jump at the chance to resign he would be saying a lot of things. The loudest is the fact that he is going after job security. If Nate were to sign a 3 year extension at $6 million a year he is guaranteed $18 million at the minimum. No matter how good or bad the team is he gets his cash. So passing up speaks volumes about what Nate thinks about this team.
What Nate is telling everyone is this team is DAMN GOOD. Who better knows the team then to coach? If Nate were to jump at the chance for job security he is telling everyone that he is unsure about the success of the team and wants to secure himself because this team may not live up to expectations. What he is saying about not re-singing is that this team will succeed and he is in line to cash in. No person in his position would turn down guaranteed money if the team was bad. And no person would sign for millions less when they knew the team would blow up like expected putting them in line to get a bigger payday. By riding out his contract he gives up security, but he also gains leverage when we start our march to a championship.
So while the rest of Rip City freaks over this news, read between the lines, understand that what Nate said by not re-singing is music to our ears. When our team goes above and beyond what even we expect and Nate is getting Zen like money remember this post. Thank you Nate for showing us you believe in our team, and letting us peek behind the curtain to our assured success.