The Portland Trail Blazers fired head coach Nate McMillan Thursday.
The announcement follows a series of poor recent performances by the team and a season marked by injuries to key players.
Team President Larry Miller made the official announcement as part of a massive overhaul by that also included the release of former No. 1 overall draft pick Greg Oden.
“The moves that we made…today really set us up for this summer with the draft and with free agency, to really be able to move in the direction that we want to move in and make this team better,” Miller said Thursday afternoon.
“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,” Miller said. “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.”
Team owner Paul Allen echoed Miller’s sentiments in a Tweet:
“I want to thank Nate for his years of service to the team and Portland and its fans,” Allen posted via Twitter, adding that the team “had to face reality of how the season was going.”
McMillan entered the 2012 season with an overall record of 246-246 with the Blazers, and his teams were 6-12 in the playoffs, losing in the first round in each of the past three seasons after failing to make the postseason the previous three years.
In McMillan’s release, the Blazers promoted assistant Kaleb Canales to interim head coach, citing a league source.
The 34-year-old Canales has been with the Blazers since 2004, starting as a video intern and being promoted to video coordinator before being named assistant coach in 2008. He also served as the coach during summer camp.
Miller said the search for a permanent coach and general manager would begin after the season.
“[Canales] has great connection with our player, he has great enthusiasm for the game, and we just thought that to give someone like Caleb the opportunity to finish out the season for us was the right thing to do.”
The Blazers are the fourth team to change head coaches this season. Sacramento’s Paul Westphal and Washington’s Flip Saunders were fired and Mike D’Antoni resigned from New York.
ESPN discusses the Trail Blazers’ decision to fire Nate McMillan in the clip below:
via CBS Sports