« Kyrie Irving speaks highly of Nate Tibbetts, Bobcats coaching candidate | Main | Would blunt, intense Stan Van Gundy be the right fit for the Charlotte Bobcats? »

May 21, 2012

Nate McMillan in town to interview with Charlotte Bobcats

Probably the most prominent name attached to the Charlotte Bobcats’ coaching search – former N.C. State star Nate McMillan – will be in Charlotte tonight and Tuesday to interview with Bobcats management, a source familiar with the situation confirmed to the Observer.

The Bobcats were also set to interview assistant coach Stephen Silas Monday. Silas served as lead assistant to his father, Paul, whose contract was not renewed last month.

McMillan was fired in March as coach of the Portland Trail Blazers, following a 42-point road loss to the New York Knicks. He was 266-269 as coach in Portland and preceded that with a 212-183 record as coach of the then-Seattle Supersonics.

Despite the end, McMillan had strong seasons in Portland, winning 54 games in the 2008-09 season and 50 in the 2009-10 season. He told the Observer last month that he had interest in the Bobcats situation.

He certainly wants another coaching job.

“I’ve never been fired. I’ve never been cut, and this was the first time I have been without a team,’’ McMillan told the Seattle Times after his firing. “I’ve never been out here before where I’m not working…To be fired, it’s just a word that is hard to swallow.’’

McMillan played 12 seasons in the NBA, mostly at point guard. His No. 10 jersey was retired by the then-Sonics (now the Oklahoma City Thunder.)

McMillan does still have a coaching gig of sorts; for the second straight Olympics he will serve as an assistant on Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski’s Team USA staff.

McMillan was dealt a bad hand this season; in training camp shooting gurd Brandon Roy retired and center Greg Oden, the former No. 1 pick, had a setback in his recovery from knee surgery. Around the time the Blazers fired McMillan, they purged the roster, trading ex-Bobcat Gerald Wallace to New Jersey and cutting Oden.

McMillan is known for being quite firm for holding players accountable. Bobcats management will have to decide if that approach is best for a young team whose confidence was beaten up by a 7-59 season.

Clearly McMillan’s playmaker experience could come in handy in tutoring Kemba Walker in the nuances of NBA point-guard play.

McMillan’s local ties – he grew up in Raleigh and then played for the Wolfpack – would come be helpful to a team still trying to establish itself in the Charlotte marketplace.

Posted by Observer Sports on May 21, 2012 at 11:03 AM | Permalink


I really don't get the comments about Nate being from Raleigh & NC State just like everybody was enamored with the fact that Jordan grew up in Wilmington and played at UNC. These facts are irrelevant to choosing the best coach or owner we need the best qualified person even if he group on a remote island. Commitment & winning is what will help establish the Bobcats in the Charlotte marketplace.

Posted by: TrueBBallFan | May 21, 2012 11:10:20 AM

I'm excited about the prospects of hiring Nate McMillan!

Posted by: Howie Feltersnatch | May 21, 2012 11:46:58 AM

How about some analysis on player development. He has a reputation for not playing rookie players, which isn't really something that interests me Ina coach

Posted by: Spaceman mike | May 21, 2012 12:00:14 PM

He is a very good coach, but I wonder if he's right for this monumental building project. His coaching style reminds me a little too much of Larry Brown - perfectionist, very hard on players. I think McMillian is probably better suited to a veteran team. I know he wasn't available at the time, but I think the Lakers would have been considerably better if they had been able to hire McMillian instead of Mike Brown. But if our players can handle his demanding style, it could be a very good hire.

Posted by: J | May 21, 2012 12:33:41 PM

How about getting the Hornets name back?
Thats something that will get the fans interested in this product. It doesn't seem like MJ cares about what the fans think... Sounds like another former owner that failed here.....me

Posted by: George Shinn | May 21, 2012 12:36:35 PM


Posted by: Elliot Motaleb | May 21, 2012 12:36:41 PM

I'd be happy with just about anyone but Stephen Silas.

Posted by: apauldds | May 21, 2012 12:48:04 PM

How can you post this without even mentioning the relationship between Cho and McMillan? Can you give us some insight into how they worked together in Portland?

Posted by: Brady Eckard | May 21, 2012 1:15:31 PM

I hear you, TrueBB. McMillan's local ties may explain why HE would be interested in the Bobcats' job (which appears to be the least appealing of any open NBA coaching position), but I don't get how Nate helps attendance, marketability or love for the franchise. The best coach for the Bobcats is the one who can win over the long haul.

Posted by: Sammy | May 21, 2012 1:32:50 PM

I live in Portland, and I saw what Nate did for our team. He took us from the laughing stock of the league to a great team. I think that the Bobcats need Nate and all he can bring. He is the best at rebuilding teams.

Posted by: Alex Watkins | May 21, 2012 1:44:54 PM

I love that there are 3 people in Charlotte that think the name is more important than who the coach is or what players the team signs. Very funny! Thank you.

Posted by: Big Time | May 21, 2012 2:06:56 PM

I think I would have liked the potential hire of McMillan more if this was a bit more of a veteran team. Though a few guys could use some shaping up like Tyrus Thomas. So it wouldn't be the worst idea either. Still holding out hope for Brian Shaw though.

Posted by: PantherDave | May 21, 2012 2:15:32 PM

NATE is a real coach...he gets his players to put in effort and he coaches without an ego.....pay the man and bring in a real coach....

Posted by: Scott Silverstein | May 21, 2012 2:42:10 PM

If Jordan was smart, he'd bring in Stan Van Gundy for an interview.

Posted by: BAL | May 21, 2012 3:30:12 PM

How about trying to land Phil Jackson for 2 yrs. with Ewing as assistant head coach...Phil owes MJ something! If they land Anthony Davis who can learn from Ewing; then Phil Jackson; you have a shot a CP3 in 2013. "They need to think big" CP3 wants to come home! HELLO

Posted by: Willow Davis | May 21, 2012 3:45:08 PM

Stan Van Gundy is the best coach available (other than Phil Jackson of course) now that he was fired from Orlando.

Posted by: Jason Warren | May 21, 2012 3:52:14 PM

Big Time- Those 3 people are crazy. The Player and Coach are more important than a team name..... but, fan supports trumps it all. Without fan support the product will die. The Bobcats are last in the league in TV Viewership, Last in Merchandising, Have horrible attendance, not many people care that Charlotte even has a team, more people in Charlotte are wearing Charlotte Hornets gear than Bobcats gear ...

This area largely doesn't care about the Bobcats and every statistical measure proves my point.

Everything about this team on the court is a failure. The team, the team name, the colors, the mascot, everything sucks.

I'm a huge NBA Fan and this team is an embarressment.

Worst team in the history of the NBA....

A legacy that all of Charlotte can be proud of.

Dear MJ- please sell the team...

Posted by: George Shinn | May 21, 2012 3:56:19 PM

Nate McMillan would be a terrific hire, IF the Bobcats were in position to make the playoffs. At this point in time, it would be best to go with Patrick Ewing, and make the best of it.

The Bobcats will NOT will 20 games in the 2012-2013 season, and they will not even be a playoff contender for the next few years. MJ might as well save his money and give Ewing a chance.

Posted by: Jalen Rose | May 21, 2012 4:19:57 PM

I see another Portlander in the comments saying exactly what I was going to state. Nate McMillan brought the Blazers from a 21-61 record (2005-2006) to a 54-28 record (2008-2009) in the highly competitive West. He can bring your team out of the gutter if you give him the right tools.
As for his relationship with Cho, I'm not sure it really developed much. Cho was only in Portland for less than a year, and he was fired for "communication issues." The Blazers ownership tend to be the ones with communication issues, especially when explaining itself to the fanbase. We fans in Portland don't even know why Cho was really fired.

Posted by: NFriedrich | May 21, 2012 4:58:19 PM

Looked like the area cared about the team at those 2 sold out playoff games. Won't take much to get Charlotte interested. Nate McMillan and Anthony Davis would bea good start.

Posted by: George Shinn II | May 21, 2012 5:09:53 PM

Is someone touting a 2 game sellout streak during the playoffs as a sign of fan support? Look at the Bobcats attendance history. It's pathetic. Never above 21st in the history of the team. This team has never been supported in Charlotte to the level needed to build a tradition. Not many care about the Bobcats, we only sell out to watch the other team.

I agree Anthony Davis would be a great start to building fan support. We have a 25% chance of that happening.

Whats the fall back plan for creating excitement for this team if the lottery doesn't work?

Posted by: I want Season Tix for Charlotte Hornets | May 21, 2012 8:58:33 PM

My guess is that when the name "Hornets" comes available next month, if MJ chooses to not change the name because of his cheapness, the team loses a lot of fans.

I'm a fan of this team only because it plays in Charlotte...if MJ goes the cheap route, he will dig his own grave.

Posted by: I want Season Tix for Charlotte Hornets | May 21, 2012 9:02:27 PM

Nate worked great with Rich Cho they are both true professionals. charlotte would be lucky to get his great talents on and off the court. Paul Allen and his group of idiots where stupid to fire coach Nate.If you guys hire coach mcmillan will throw in paul allen for free

Posted by: Mike | May 22, 2012 2:59:52 PM

Why don't you guys realize that mj is not the gm. Cho and higgins are hiring the next coach not mj!

Posted by: crymeariver | May 22, 2012 3:49:06 PM

Indegio Montoya would be good for the bobcats. Where they are now Nate is perfect to get the team in track. And for the fact he doesn't play Rookies. Have you seen Portland Rookies? Nate didn't pick those players someone got a kickback for that. The owners don't have a clue about Basketball. I love Nate. He ll do well elsewhere. He just need a good Assistant coach.
Bobcats will make it to the play offs next season with Nate.

Posted by: Casa lanca | May 23, 2012 12:19:50 AM

True bball,

Doesnt matter with coach, but owner? Hell yea it does. You get a non local owner and he moves the team the second he feels like it.

Posted by: charlottean | May 23, 2012 3:32:09 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.