Archive for Nate McMillan

Mr. Blazer or Mr. Paycheck?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2008 by blazersog

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.

Da Coach

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on May 7, 2008 by blazersog

To go along with Oregonlive’s You Be the GM post on Nate McMillan today, we wanted to take a minute and offer a little more insight into Nate’s past, present and future.  First, you’ve got to give it up to a guy who spent his entire 12-year career playing for the same team, during which he became their all-time leader in assists and steals.  Only Downtown Freddy Brown played longer for the Sonics and the Sonics retired McMillan’s #10 jersey in 1999.  His tenacious defense made him a respected enemy for our beloved Trailblazers during the golden years of Clyde, Terry, Buck, Jerome and friends. 

He was an assistant for two years to Paul Westphal and went on to lead the Sonics for five years, posting a respectable .537 winning percentage, culminating in a 52-30 season in 2004-2005 and a division championship.  In Portland, he’s had a little tougher luck, with 21-61, 32-50 and 41-41 seasons adding up to a .382 winning percentage over the last three years.  While Nate has been praised for his remarkable ability to focus his team during a timeout, he has also engendered a consistent run of criticism for his backing of an inconsistent Jarrett Jack and the long benching of the once-promising, now-disillusioned Sergio Rodriguez. 

None of this is to say that we don’t love Nate.  Because we do.  More than you can know.  Just like in highschool, Mo Cheeks was the teacher who coached golf, taught a few classes, joked around and let you wear a hat while chewing gum in class.  Nate ain’t that guy.  In Nate’s classroom, no one talks while he’s talking and if you tried turning in an assignment late, he’d tell his policy is No Late Work Accepted, No Exceptions.  In a way, Nate’s timing was perfect for the 3rd youngest team in NBA history and, if we’d been able to keep the pace of December and January for another month or two, we would’ve made the playoffs and Nate would’ve been getting serious COY consideration (he finished 9th in the voting, receiving 3 3rd place votes).

Obviously the Blazers’ front office is very happy with Nate and the players love him.  But here’s a question to put your Nate-love to the test: what if Brandon Roy or LMA were being treated like Sergio?  What if these two were unhappy with Sarge’s discipline and started talking publicly about it?  How would you feel then?  With names like Avery Johnson and Mike D’Antoni on the market, you have to wonder what it would be like with them at the helm.  How would these young guys respond to the General?  Is D’Antoni really as bad at developing young players as they say?  These are the fun questions we can ask and debate in the off-season, so give us your thoughts below.

Do we want Mr. Sonic to be Mr. Blazer?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 18, 2008 by blazersog

Recently Coach Nate McMillan earned his 300th win as a head coach in the NBA. He is a young coach that has built a reputation in the league as a no-nonsense guy and someone who likes defense and discipline in his players (nicknamed “sarge” by his previous star player Zach Randolph). Back in July of 2005 the city of Portland was lucky enough to take Mr. Sonic out of his Seattle home and transplant him as a head coach of our young Trail Blazers. Nate, since then, has been the poster boy for the new culture of this team and continues to charm the fans of this city. We believe in Nate more than anyone in this organization and we are grateful for what he brings to our team. He has said that he hopes to have the next 300 wins here as a coach of the Blazers. He would be our own version of Utah’s Jerry Sloan. If this is in our future Mr. Sonic will be a thing of the past and Mr. Blazer will be his new household name. However, fans, we want to ask you if this is truly what we want? We’re not saying that it’s time to start looking for a new coach. We are sooooo far from that. We want to know if the fate of the Blazers turn out to be the same as the Jazz, is that something we would consider a success? 2003982084.jpg

Jerry Sloan has been the coach of the Utah Jazz since he took over after Frank Layden in 1988. Jerry has coached probably the best guard/big man duo in Stockton and Malone. They have enjoyed a long run in the playoffs almost every year except from 2003 – 2006. The Jazz, under him, have won six division championships and went to the NBA final twice in 1997 and 1998. The Jazz if compared to an NCAA team are like the Dukies (except for the number of championships), they are a powerhouse every year and are always contending for the championship. Jerry Sloan, however has never won a championship, and even though he is as great as the people in Utah would like to think he is, we fickle people measure greatness with merits. In this case, Championships.

So are we ready for a Jerry Sloan? Do we want Nate McMillan to be that person for us? The only thing we can say is that we are ready to see the champion’s parade on the Broadway Bridge with our Blazers on top of floats waving at us, knowing that the wait is finally over and we again are the best team in the world. If Mr. Blazer can take us there, we want his next three 300 wins here at the garden. 59_1977.jpg