Re: Thoughts on 2012 Trade Deadline Moves and McMillan Firing
McMillan's firing caught several Blazers executives and most of the coaching staff by surprise. The news first broke shortly after the NBA trade deadline had passed at noon, and when one assistant coach was contacted for comment via text message, he replied: "News to me."
But others had seen the writing on the wall for some time – including McMillan himself. Quietly, behind the scenes, McMillan acknowledged that if the underperforming Blazers didn't improve, he expected to take the fall. The Blazers (20-23) are perhaps the NBA's biggest disappointment this season, sitting in last place in the Northwest Division and 11th place in the 15-team Western Conference. They have lost seven of their last nine games, with all six of their March defeats coming by double digits.
Pressure began to mount during these lopsided losses, and Miller said he and McMillan talked "multiple" times over the last week about McMillan's job status and the performance of the team. The final straw came Wednesday night, when the Blazers were humiliated 121-79 to the New York Knicks, suffering the fifth most-lopsided loss in franchise history.
McMillan’s players publicly supported him after the defeat, but it was clear a segment of the locker room had long ago tuned him out or, worse, quit on him. So Miller and interim general manager Chad Buchanan discussed McMillan’s future Thursday, and Miller said the two decided to recommend to Allen that he let McMillan go. Allen agreed.