Statement from Wally Walker regarding Nate McMillan:
"We have just been informed that Nate McMillan has accepted the head coaching position with the Portland Trail Blazers."
Well, he's gone. That's good for him and not so good for the team.
Why did he leave?
From Danny "Mr Seahawk" O'Neil in the SeattlePI.com "McMillan will get $30 million over the next five years to be head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers."
Is that a lot?
Again, from Danny "Mr Seahawk" O'Neil in the SeattlePI.com "McMillan turned down the Sonics' offer of $18 million over four years, an average of $4.5 million per season. He will make an average of $6 million per season with the Trail Blazers."
At 1.5 million dollars a year more and one more year on the contract it's hard to knock McMillan's choice. It was more than the Sonics or most other teams would offer. Fact is that the Portland Trailblazers have to overpay to get a coach like McMillan to go to a team that has been on a slow slide from the Western Conference Finals and a 59-23 record in the 1999-2000 season to a lottery picking 27-55 season this year. They made the right move for a good coach, so did McMillan for the money, so did the Sonics in not throwing money at a coach but at the people that get the work done like Ray Allen.
The Sonics went from a reported 75 million dollar offer to Ray Allen to an 80 million dollar offer (85 million with performance bonuses) to lock him up for the next 5 years. Oh yes, not mentioned on this blog, and for those of you just getting out of solitary confinement, Ray Allen agreed to terms with the Sonics.
There's the money, 10 million that could have gone to McMillan and possibly kept him in Seattle but would likely have resulted in Allen going to another team. If that was the choice, and I don't know in the big picture that it ever was, then I'm ok with what has gone on over the past week. Nothing against Nate McMillan but it's a little harder to find a player like Ray Allen than it is to find a coach for Ray Allen.
To broach the inevitable subject, it wasn't as if McMillan clearly was the best basketball coach in Seattle but he is the best liked. Best of luck to the former Mr Sonic! Thank you for the years of hard work.
So, here is the short list of names likely to be kicked around to fill the roll of coach and mentor to the Supersonic do-gooders:
Flip Saunders (He would get paid more to not coach this year.)
Mark Iavaroni (A rising talent.)
Paul Silas (Will they hire the right Paul this time?)
Doug Collins ("No really, Doug Collins" is what I would say to my brother on the phone.)
Not exciting enough for you? Well there is the guy that wants to transition from the WNBA to the NBA as head coaches like Bill Laimbeer. No, that's not what I would call exciting.
There are going to be some homers that will throw Lorenzo Romar's name out there. But, the UW Huskies run this town and are not likely to encourage that kind of talk, besides, I don't think he would be the best choice.
I'll leave you all with this, if the Sonics management, even in a super-secret meeting, doesn't at least whisper the name Anne Donovan then they should have their heads examined. See her name here at the Basketball Hall of Fame or her WNBA champioship bio at WNBA.com
Is it time for something like this? Not likely. But if it were time for that, it should be her.
p.s. Good luck to Danny O'Neil at the SeattlePI.com as he goes from covering the Sonics to covering the Seahawks. Hmmm, I hope you too were paid more to take a not so nice jub. Good luck with Shaun Alexander.