The Oregonian’s Jason Quick reported via Twitter this morning that the Blazers had signed head coach Nate McMillan to a two-year extension. The team confirmed the extension today, and you can read the full press release over at BlazersEdge. McMillan, in his sixth year as Portland’s head coach, was due to be a free agent this summer.
What this move says to me is that Rich Cho believes the Blazers, despite underperforming the last two seasons due to a rash of injuries, are not as far from contention as people think. Committing to Nate for another two seasons goes right in hand with the willingness to be active at the trading deadline that we saw with the Gerald Wallace trade. Both of these moves show that Cho doesn’t believe a rebuild to be necessary; he thinks the current group, with the right fixes via trade and free agency, will have enough to make a deep playoff run.
Above all else, Nate’s extension gives the Blazers a sense of security. With the upcoming lockout, we don’t know whether there will even be a season next year. We don’t know whether Brandon Roy can stay healthy, whether Greg Oden can get healthy, whether Gerald Wallace and Nicolas Batum and play together, what the long-term answer is at point guard, or whether LaMarcus Aldridge can continue putting up monster numbers once Roy moves back into the starting lineup. We don’t know a lot of things. What we do know, as of today, is who the coach will be that tries to answer all those questions.