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Thread: Same old Blazers

  1. #1
    How are you here? Kegboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Northside Bias

    Default Same old Blazers

    Man this pisses me off, and not just cause it screws over my new team. Just like when McHale tried to pull this, I don't see how anybody can even try if they're not even still paying the man. (registration required)

    An assistant fight?

    In an interesting behind-the-scenes fight, the Cavaliers might find themselves attempting to make a deal with the Portland Trail Blazers -- for an assistant coach. The Blazers' highly respected player development specialist, Tim Grgurich, is one of the highest-paid assistant coaches in the NBA.

    Grgurich and Cavaliers coach Mike Brown have a long history, and team officials have confirmed there's interest in him joining Brown's staff. But Grgurich has one more year on his contract and, according to a report in Saturday's Portland Oregonian, the Blazers want compensation to let him go -- even though they've stopped paying him. That's is a virtually unheard of circumstance in the NBA.

    According to several league insiders, the Blazers had promised Grgurich they'd let him out of his contract if he returned to work with the Blazers' young players after coach Maurice Cheeks was fired in the middle of last season. That apparently hasn't come to pass.

    Brown had been holding several spots on his coaching staff for Larry Brown's assistants if he hadn't been hired by the New York Knicks. With that out of the way, Mike Brown is expected to start hiring coaches. He's already hired Hank Egan, and Kenny Natt is expected to be retained from Paul Silas' staff.
    Come to the Dark Side -- There's cookies!

  2. #2
    flexible and robust SoupIsGood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Lappy Go Hucky

    Default Re: Same old Blazers

    There's no give by Blazers

    The team has quit paying assistant coach Tim Grgurich but is holding him to the year remaining on his contract

    Saturday, July 30, 2005 RACHEL BACHMAN

    The Trail Blazers have stopped paying Tim Grgurich, the latest move in an unusual tussle between the team and its one-of-a-kind assistant coach.

    Grgurich, who specializes in mentoring and training young players, wants out of the organization. The Blazers say he is breach of contract but are refusing to let him break it. The contract has a year remaining.

    The stalemate leaves the Blazers' coaching staff without its player-development guru as management assembles one of its youngest lineups ever and leaves Grgurich with no paycheck and apparently no place else to go.

    "You can't force people to work if they want to step down," Blazers general manager John Nash said. "But we have a valid contract and a binding contract with him. If he's going to work in the NBA this year, we would expect it would be with the Portland Trail Blazers."

    Generally, when a head coach gets fired or leaves -- as happened with Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks last season -- his assistants are allowed to leave as well. But executives around the league say Grgurich's skill set makes him exceptional among assistants.

    Donnie Walsh, chief executive officer of the Indiana Pacers, said he had not heard of a situation such as Grgurich's. But he maintained that the Blazers have a right to hold him to his contract.

    "What Grgurich does is different from most coaches," Walsh said. "He works individually with the players. But it doesn't make any difference who the head coach is."

    Donn Nelson, president of basketball operations for the Dallas Mavericks, said he understood why the Blazers don't want to lose Grgurich, just as he understood why Grgurich wants to leave.

    "Grgs is a throwback in the fact that loyalty is No. 1, 2 and 3 with him," Nelson said. "Loyalty comes in two forms: It comes in loyalty to the organization, and then you've got also loyalty to people. And a coaching staff, that's really your family."

    Reached by phone, Grgurich's wife, Kathy, said, "We just have no comment about that at this point in time." Blazers coach Nate McMillan was on a family vacation Friday and unavailable for comment.

    The Blazers, who confirmed Friday that the organization is not paying Grgurich, have let others leave prematurely. Earlier this month, they let assistant John Loyer out of his contract two years early, allowing him to work for Cheeks with the Philadelphia 76ers.

    But because of the Blazers' investment in young players, Nash said, and because of the strides Grgurich coaxed from them last season, the Blazers want to hold on to him.

    "(Loyer) was replaceable," Nash said. "We find Grg to be more unique in his abilities and more valuable to us as a result."

    Nash said another NBA team is interested in Grgurich but that the Blazers would not give him up merely in exchange for the team taking over his contract. The Blazers would require additional compensation, Nash said, the terms of which he declined to name.

    McMillan has hired one assistant: Dean Demopoulos, formerly of the Seattle SuperSonics. Despite the uncertainty about Grgurich's future role with the Blazers -- and despite the team taking a firm stance with him -- Nash said he was not worried about how assistants around the league would view the team's disagreement with the popular Grgurich.

    "There are a significant number of people trying to get jobs with us right now as assistant coaches," Nash said. "And this situation doesn't seem to have any negative impact whatsoever."

    Rachel Bachman: 503-221-4373;
    You, Never? Did the Kenosha Kid?

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