Nate McMillan Signs a 2-Year Extension With the Portland Trail Blazers

William ReynagaContributor IMarch 10, 2011

PHOENIX - APRIL 18:  Head coach  Nate McMillan of the Portland Trail Blazers coaches during Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2010 NBA Playoffs against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on April 18, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Trail Blazers defeated the Suns 105-100 to take a 1-0 series lead.  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 Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Portland Trail Blazers have extended Nate McMillan's tenure in the Rose City for another two years.

The rumors that Pat Riley would woo McMillan and take him to Miami or that McMillan was Kobe Bryant's top candidate to replace Phil Jackson can be put to rest—for now. 

McMillan and the Blazers organization attempted to construct an extension during the offseason, but talks slowed and a deal failed to be set in place before the start of the season.

With former GM Kevin Pritchard then being fired just an hour before the 2010 NBA Draft, there were concerns as to whether newly hired GM Rich Cho, along with Paul Allen and his Vulcan’s would seek to retain McMillan. 

So, why did McMillan decide to sign with the Blazers instead of testing free agency? 

He likes the direction that his team is heading. It's as simple as that. 

With the trade deadline acquisition of Gerald Wallace and Brandon Roy together with Marcus Camby coming back from injury, McMillan has the opportunity to play with an array of diverse lineups, which is a luxury he hasn’t had much of lately in his tenure. 

The emergence of LaMarcus Aldridge has given McMillan a No. 1 option on offense. The Blazers also went out and got Wesley Matthews, who is only a sophomore in the league, but who has a tremendous amount of upside.

Gerald Wallace plays much bigger than he is and knows only one speed—the pedal to the floor. Nicolas Batum is a highly sought-after asset with immense value in the league thus far in his career. 

Then there’s Andre Miller and Marcus Camby, the veterans on the team who help direct the young players in a positive direction. Plus, the chance that Brandon Roy and Greg Oden can still have long, productive careers remains to be seen.

What's more, the prospect of Joel Przybilla returning to Portland is not unimaginable. The fans still love him, as displayed by the standing ovation he received when he was announced into the Blazers-Bobcats game, late in the first quarter. He’s even said that he doesn’t think his time in Portland is over and the organization has always been fond of his tenacity on the court. 

The team is a direct reflection of McMillan’s hard work and professionalism. He has an understanding with the management and his team believes in his coaching.

The last thing that McMillan has left to ask for at this point is big wins, which is what the Blazers did in Orlando and Miami. 

In two years, the league and the city of Portland should know whether this Blazers team has what it takes to make the big run—with exception to the potential lockout, of course.