With his contract set to run out after the 2009-2010 season, McMillan had to start thinking about how to play his next move. Stick with the team that you've built up from the bottom, or start seeing what else is out there? It isn't as if McMillan wouldn't have options. Any team would love to bring on a coach with a track record like his, and players around the league are starting to take notice.
Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant recently told Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski that if Phil Jackson does not return to the Lakers, he'd lobby for either Jeff Van Gundy or Nate McMillan. This prompted the Blazers to move fast and pick up Nate's one year extension, locking him up through the 2010-2011 season.
After that season, McMillan would be free to negotiate, free to sign a long term, big money deal. However, Nate McMillan preaches staying hungry, and earning your paycheck to his Portland players, which is why after his contract his up, he will only be signing one-year contracts, one at a time.
"I think that's the way it should go," said McMillan, who has been in Portland since 2005. "It might be crazy ... I know my agent thinks I'm crazy. But I think it should be based on your performance. I don't think there is another coach who would say that, and I say that because everybody talks about security. For me, security is knowing you want me to be here, and that I'm doing what I need to do. Not you wondering, 'Why is he here?' Or, 'How are we going to get out of this?' "
The NBA has long been known as a "players league." This meaning that it doesn't matter who your coach is, as long as you have the talented players. This may be the case a majority of the time; however, I think if you look a little closer there are a few coaches out there who really make a difference. Nate McMillan is one of those difference makers, and it's his bold statements and the respect he earns by practicing what he preaches that have NBA superstars lobbying for his services.