Canzano: Terry Stotts feels ready for his next ride in the NBA
Ex-Portland coach surfaces as candidate.
I reached out to former Trail Blazers’ coach Terry Stotts on Tuesday morning. It felt like the timing was right. His name is surfacing as a candidate for several head coach vacancies in the NBA.
It feels like Stotts, 64, has one more NBA job in him. The coach performed well in a nine-year run in Portland before he was tossed under the proverbial bus by his general manager, Neil Olshey. Stotts left graciously, said all the right things, and is still living in Lake Oswego with his wife, Jan.
What have the last 10 months been like for Stotts? How difficult was it to watch the team he pulled together for all those years splinter this season? Did he watch games this season? Was he refreshed by the time off and shift of perspective?
I asked Stotts if he wanted to talk.
Said Stotts via text message: “I appreciate you reaching out. Currently, I am not doing any interviews. Maybe someday. I hope all is well with you.”
Stotts is very strategic. He doesn’t need to do an interview to get his next job. He doesn’t need to humanize himself and doesn’t owe the rest of us deep insight into his psyche. But I’ll try anyway. Because the very first 1-on-1 interview I conducted with Stotts told me a lot about him.
I reached Stotts on the phone in the summer of 2012 shortly after he was hired by Paul Allen. Stotts picked up the phone and was out of breath, huffing through a Southern-loop bicycle ride in Nova Scotia. He told me he was fulfilling a promise to his then-76-year-old mother, Jayne.
His father, Frank, was a high school and college basketball coach. He passed away in 2000. Before he was hired by Portland, Terry and his mother planned a 241-mile bike ride through Canada in August of 2012. They’d ascend 5,700 feet in six days, mother and son side-by-side. In my view, this was the first victory of Stotts’ tenure in Portland.
Jayne told me then: “He goes uphill faster, I go downhill faster.”
Wasn’t that first part of her quote essentially her son’s tenure in Portland? Stotts is a builder. The Blazers were disjointed when he arrived. In his second season they pedaled uphill and won 54 games. The offense was a thing of beauty, in particular. And so I wonder how long until some NBA franchise realizes what it needs is Stotts in charge.
Stotts and his wife have no children. They’ve traveled extensively in the last year, per a source. Terry plays some golf, too, I’m told. Utah has been a frequent destination for the couple, per a source. Because of that, I wonder if he’ll someday coach the Jazz. The recently retired Bill Schonely also told me Stotts was among the first to reach out unsolicited when he heard “The Schonz” was retiring.
“Terry was always so good to me,” Schonely said.
Rick Carlisle, Stotts’ long-time friend and boss when they won a title with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011, told me on Tuesday: “He’s a proven winner. The job he did in Portland over a nine-year period was simply tremendous. He developed high draft picks into stars. He nurtured a wide range of veterans into roles where they could flourish. And when no one else would touch Carmelo Anthony, Terry helped reinvent his career. And he won.”
The Lakers? The Kings? Someplace else?
“He’s got a great overall feel for the NBA game,” Carlisle said. “He could go into any situation and adapt to a wide range of personnel situations.”
Terry Stotts has had some time off. It feels like it’s time for the coach to take another ride.
BIG HIT FROM OSU: Cleveland’s Steven Kwan is Major League Baseball’s coolest early story… or rather, the hottest. The former Oregon State star hit .692 in the first series of his rookie season vs. the Kansas City Royals. He reached base 15 times in his first four games — the most any player has reached base in his first four career games since at least 1901.
Get this — Kwan hasn’t yet struck out in the big leagues. He didn’t strike out in spring training and hasn’t yet in the regular season. Not only that, as of now Kwan hadn’t even swung and missed on a single pitch this season. He’s the only player with more than 20 swings (26) to accomplish that.
“He’s a tough out,” Royals manager Mike Matheny told reporters. “You can tell that already. Guys that don’t swing and miss a lot, figure out how to make hard contact… tough to strike out. That’s exactly what he did this whole series.”
Kwan is the 40th player in OSU history to play in the big leagues. He's the third player from the Beavers’ 2018 national championship team to appear in the majors, joining Nick Madrigal and Trevor Larnach.
Current OSU players in MLB: Kwan (Cleveland), Nick Madrigal (Chicago Cubs) and Drew Rasmussen (Tampa Bay Rays). Matt Boyd is also with the San Francisco Giants but did not open the season on the 28-man active roster.
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Coach Stotts is a class act in my opinion. One the greatest coaches in Blazer history along with Jack Ramsay, Rick Adelman and Mike Dunleavy. Dunleavy, another guy who got thrown under the bus by an egomaniac GM…Bob Whitsitt.
I think Stotts was good for the Blazers. I wish him well wherever he lands.