Nate McMillan, Blazers have extension
MIAMI -- Portland coach Nate McMillan came into the season not wanting to be distracted by his contract status.
That's no longer a problem.
McMillan signed a two-year extension -- one that came together quickly and unexpectedly -- with the Trail Blazers on Tuesday, not long before his team visited the Miami Heat. McMillan has taken the Blazers to the playoffs twice, and is in position to do so again this season, with the club coming into Tuesday holding the sixth spot in the Western Conference.
"I haven't thought about it much other than times when I was asked," said McMillan, who is 234-239 in parts of six seasons with the Blazers. "But I'm glad that it is over, because they had me in a lot of different cities and that was a distraction. But as far as would I be in Portland, I certainly was hoping and expecting to remain in Portland."
McMillan has held the Blazers together through some unbelievable challenges brought on by injuries, particularly last season, when Portland had players miss a combined 311 games but still finished 50-32.
"What Nate has accomplished in the last few years is truly remarkable and getting his contract extended was a top priority for the franchise and me," Blazers general manager Rich Cho said.
McMillan has also served on the U.S. men's national team coaching staff since 2005. The team won the gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
He said owner Paul Allen came to him with an offer Tuesday morning, even though the sides originally planned not to have serious discussions until after the season about a new deal.
Not long afterward, McMillan agreed.
"I'm happy to get that behind me," McMillan said. "Now we can focus on the team and the future."
Before joining the Blazers, McMillan coached the Seattle SuperSonics for five seasons. He played for the Sonics for 12 seasons, appearing in a franchise-record 98 playoff games and earning the nickname "Mr. Sonic."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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