The Oregonian's Jason Quick reported on Monday that new Portland Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey intends to begin interviewing coaching candidates this week during the Las Vegas Summer League.
Yes, you read that right, "begin interviewing."
It seems ridiculous that the Blazers are only just now reaching out to potential coaches, but then again, Olshey has barely been on the job for a month, and he's had quite a bit on his plate already.
Still, Portland's front office should have had this ball rolling before Olshey even came on, shouldn't it have? There have been some top-notch coaching candidates on the market this whole time -- Mike D'Antoni, Stan Van Gundy, Jerry Sloan, Mike Dunleavy -- and the Blazers could have been reaching out to them.
Olshey didn't disclose the list of candidates he plans to interview in Vegas, but the assumption here is that it'll be almost entirely guys who are current NBA assistants, since head coaches don't often coach the summer league teams.
That'd seem to leave us with a relatively short list of highly sought-after NBA assistants, led by the Indiana Pacers' Brian Shaw and the Golden State Warriors' Michael Malone, both of whom were reportedly candidates for the Orlando Magic job. But the Vegas Summer League features 23 NBA teams, so that gives us a whole host of possible coaches Olshey could be talking with this week.
Personally, I'd like to see Olshey go after an established coach, someone who can come in and work with the youngsters and help them develop. The returning Blazers -- of which there aren't going to be many -- seem to really like interim coach Kaleb Canales, because his energy and attitude are infectious, and because he relates well to them.
The knock on Canales, I guess, is that he doesn't have enough experience to take on the head-coaching job, but as far as I'm concerned, if the Blazers are willing to go with an assistant coach -- even one as highly regarded as Shaw or Malone -- then they might as well go with Canales, who has some institutional knowledge and has the vote of Portland's current players.
What do you think, should the Blazers go with an established head coach or go after a less-experienced youngster who can grow into the role?
Adam Sparks has followed the Portland Trail Blazers since the early 1980s, and has written about the team as a freelancer since 2009.
- Sports & Recreation
- Portland Trail Blazers
- Neil Olshey
- Las Vegas Summer League