Larry Miller Rumors
The National Basketball Players Association reached out to former Portland Trail Blazers president Larry Miller, now president of Jordan Brand, to gauge his interest in their vacant executive director position, a league source informed CSNNW.com. According to the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the search, said Miller politely declined to entertain the proposition, being that “he’s extremely happy in his current role.”
The Trail Blazers were floundering. Lopsided losses were becoming the norm. A promising season was teetering toward a free-fall. Coach Nate McMillan, the man who helped usher Portland past the Jail Blazers era and became the bedrock of a turbulent organization, had lost his team. Sensing the collapse and fearing the worst, McMillan asked then-President Larry Miller for a meeting to discuss the future. “I talked with Larry about where I felt the organization was at and what I thought they needed to do,” McMillan says. “They needed to look at rebuilding before that thing crumbled. And they needed to look at everything, including the head coaching position. With some guys, I knew it wasn’t part of their plan to be there. We had two of our core players — Brandon (Roy) and Greg (Oden) — basically retire. So I told him that he needed to get something for the guys we had, he needed to look at redoing this whole thing before it crumbles.”
In his first detailed explanation of the night Sloan resigned, Miller, the CEO of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, said Sloan and Williams argued over the final play of the half in a home game against the Chicago Bulls. “Jerry said, ‘If you’re going to change the play, it would be nice if you’d let the rest of the team know so we’ve got a chance at scoring,’ or something like that,” Miller said. “He kind of reprimanded Deron and Deron said, ‘My bad.’ ” Miller added: “If he would have left it right there, Jerry may have never left.”
While Williams will forever be linked to Sloan his apparent role in the coach’s resignation, which became clearer with Miller’s account, the Jazz CEO said the two landmark events “were very separate.” Last week, Sloan rejoined the Jazz as a senior basketball adviser. Miller said he has spent time with Sloan in the last several weeks and has observed “that he is very glad to be back with us in that official capacity.”
The Trail Blazers hired Chris McGowan as president on Monday. He replaces Larry Miller, who replaced Steve Patterson, who replaced Bob Whitsitt. Also, McGowan will work alongside general manager Neil Olshey, who replaced Rich Cho, who replaced Kevin Pritchard, who replaced Patterson, who replaced John Nash, who replaced Whitsitt. Point is, it hasn’t felt easy to explain around here since Whitsitt left, has it? The hope here isn’t that McGowan will walk on water, or help a basketball team that feels headed to another NBA Draft Lottery find a miracle way out of this mess. Rather, the hope is that McGowan can work closely enough with Olshey to end the convoluted decade of madness and again make the basketball, not the business (or some gobbled combination) feel like it’s driving the bus again.