Rob Parker indicates in his column today that former Bucks head coach Terry Porter is not only being considered for an assistant coaching job with the Pistons, but that an official announcement is expected soon. As a former player who spent 17 years in the league, including the first 10 with the Portland Trailblazers, Porter would fulfill Joe Dumars' requirement of being someone the players would respect from Day 1. Plus, Porter is familiar with Flip Saunders, having played under him for three years in Minnesota from 1995-99. From Parker's column:
Porter was coach of the Bucks for two seasons before being fired in June 2005. Players, moles say, loved Porter because he knows what it takes to be an NBA player.
In two seasons with the Bucks, Porter was 71-93 and led the team to the playoffs in 2003-04.
The only reason Porter got the broom was because new general manager Larry Harris wanted to hire his buddy -- current coach Terry Stotts. For the record, Stotts was a runner-up when Porter was hired in August 2003 to coach his hometown team.
All right, fair enough, but I'm curious, why did Parker completely fail to mention the fact that Porter has been working to put together an investment group to buy the Trailblazers, his former team?
The pursuit for ownership seems like a potential conflict of interest, and were it to actually happen Porter would obviously be forced to step down from his post with the Pistons. I honestly don't know how or if Porter's attempts might affect his ability to accept a job elsewhere, but it's definitely something that should be discussed if you're going to call him a leading candidate. (Maybe Porter is giving up his efforts to buy the Blazers? I doubt it, especially considering just last week it was reported that he's added another deep-pocketed investor to his group.)
I don't want to question Parker's ability to simply hit up Google News before penning a column, but could it be he simply didn't know about Porter's involvement with the Blazers?
While discussing the departure of Sidney Lowe, Parker also throws this out there:
This might work out for everyone. Saunders and Lowe often were seen arguing about plays and situations during timeouts.
I don't know if it's true or not, but considering how many players appeared unhappy under Saunders in the playoffs (which Parker reiterates later in his column), it'd make for an interesting article if there was actually dissension among the coaching staff, as well. But unless something like this is actually explained, it seems a bit irresponsible (to readers who want to know the full story, and to the coaching staff if it's not completely true) to simply throw it out there.
Update: I asked Henry Abbott his opinion on Porter's involvement with the group attempting to buy the team from current Portland owner Paul Allen. Henry suggested that Porter might be simply lending his name to the cause (as other former players have done with other groups) and is probably still seeking out other employment. For one, as Henry pointed out, Porter probably doesn't have the kind of money needed to be one of the big fish in an ownership group.
I had wondered this myself, and according to Basketball-Reference.com, Porter only made about $26 million during his playing career. I'm not sure how much he made during his first two years with the Bucks, but I do know he collected $1.5 million this past season after being fired, so I'm guessing he didn't make more than a combined $3 million during the first two years.
Bear in mind, Henry isn't offering any inside info, just the perspective from a Blazers fan -- but that alone means he's probably more familiar with Portland's ownership situation than most of us in Detroit.