The Portland Trail Blazers fired their head coach today, one day after his team lost by 42 points to the reeling New York Knicks, and on the same day the team traded away Gerald Wallace and Marcus Camby.
The interim head coach is Kaleb Canales, who has been with the Blazers for seven seasons, starting as a video intern, and had a 4-1 record as coach of the Blazers’s summer league team in Las Vegas in 2010. His other coaching experience was as an assistant for the University of Texas-Arlington in 2003-04, and the previous year as an assistant coach for the boy’s basketball team at United High School in Laredo, Texas, his hometown.
McMillan went 266-269 in seven seasons in Portland, which has lost seven of nine games.
Team president Larry Miller, in a release issued by the team, said: “Clearly the season to this point has not gone the way we had hoped it would and after talking with Nate we decided it was best to part ways. I want to personally acknowledge and thank Nate for his many contributions to this franchise and wish him nothing but the best for the future.”
McMillan led the Trail Blazers to the postseason in each of the last three seasons (2008-11), marking Portland’s first run of three consecutive playoff appearances since 2000-03. The Trail Blazers shared the Northwest Division crown with Denverin 2008-09 after posting a 54-28 record, McMillan’s best as a coach.
After taking over as Trail Blazers head coach in 2005, McMillan became just the second coach in NBA history to improve a team by nine wins or more in three straight seasons whenPortland increased its win total by 33 games between 2005-06 and 2008-09.