Nate McMillan Fired by Blazers After 6-Plus Seasons

Michael CahillCorrespondent IMarch 15, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - FEBRUARY 15:  Head coach Nate McMillan of the Portland Trail Blazers argues a call during their game against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena on February 15, 2012 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Nate McMillan era in Portland is over. Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted this afternoon that Blazers management had decided to part company with their longtime head coach:

Portland has fired coach Nate McMillan, league source tells Y! Sports.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) March 15, 2012


The Blazers were an underwhelming 20-23. They had already made moves today when they shipped Gerald Wallace to the New Jersey Nets, as reported by's Sam Amick. Then they moved Marcus Camby to the Houston Rockets, as reported by Yahoo!'s Marc Spears.

Portland, which currently sports the fourth-worst record in the Western Conference and is well out of playoff contention, has promoted assistant coach Kaleb Canales to interim head coach, according to a tweet by Wojnarowski:

Portland has promoted assistant Kaleb Canales to interim head coach, league source tells Y! Sports.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) March 15, 2012

Canales was a video guy for Portland before being promoted to a bench role following the 2008-2009 season.

McMillan’s tenure in Portland ended much as it began, with struggles. In his first three seasons as head coach, he failed to garner a winning campaign. However, thanks to a much-needed revamp of the roster, which included drafting Brandon Roy, the Blazers enjoyed playoff appearances in three consecutive seasons.

While the Blazers failed to live up to the lofty expectations that were held for them, some of their troubles were beyond McMillan's control. Most notably, the constant injuries to Roy and center Greg Oden kept the Blazers from realizing their full potential. Roy retired before the start of this season, and Oden has been sidelined for the season with yet another surgery.

It’s likely the Blazers will look for a permanent replacement after this season, though there is no word yet on who they will be targeting in their coaching search.