Latest News, NBA / Aug 2, 2012 / 2:00 pm

Report: The Trail Blazers Narrow Coaching Finalists To 2

Portland Trail Blazers

Portland hasn’t had a head coach without an interim tag since March, when the team fired Nate McMillan during a Midwestern road trip. Once he met with the team one last time and said goodbye at their Chicago hotel, it was interim coach Kaleb Canales‘ ship. According to a report Wednesday evening, Canales and Terry Stotts are the finalists for Portland after going through their third interviews. The real question is, which coach will owner Paul Allen fly out to Europe to meet with?

Steve Clifford and Elston Turner were part of the final four candidates before being told they weren’t in the running Wednesday, according to Jason Quick of The Oregonian‘s report.. Neither of the finalists, at least in this search, has been interviewed by Allen. The chances are we won’t know how serious he is until he flies his ideal candidate to Europe for a final talk. When he interviewed Rich Cho to be GM in the summer of 2010, the two met after Cho flew to Helsinki, Finland. This spring, he and new GM Neil Olshey met in London. Allen is in London watching the Olympics (and offering his mega-yacht for a British naval search). It’s kind of like the Portland version of a Bachelorette rose ceremony.

But what will the 34-year-old Canales bring? He’s the first Hispanic head coach in NBA history and went 8-15 as the interim coach. He has taken the Erik Spoelstra-Mike Brown route to the top job after being a video coordinator. The players rave about Canales, but my question is whether he’s right to hold a team’s attention for 82 games, not the final third of a doomed season.

What about Stotts? He’s been a two-time head coach with Atlanta and Milwaukee but has never had a winning season. If that’s a mark against his name, a plus could be that he’s been Rick Carlisle‘s lead assistant in Dallas. Carlisle has always been a coach I admire for his ability to do a lot with not much, and it’s possible Stotts has adopted that from his background as a protege of George Karl. He played for Karl in the CBA but hasn’t had the same success as a head coach, going 115-168.

So who do you go with, the sought-after assistant who’s had trouble adjusting to the head job in two chances, or the barely tested young guy whom LaMarcus Aldridge raves about?

Who’s the better coach?

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