CHICAGO — The Portland Trail Blazers are moving on a day after making major changes.
The Trail Blazers fired coach Nate McMillan, waived former No. 1 selection Greg Oden and traded Marcus Camby and Gerald Wallace on Thursday.
Interim head coach Kaleb Canales, the youngest coach in the NBA at age 34, still is going through his same routine.
Before Friday’s game against Chicago, facing the team with the NBA’s best record, Canales was on the court giving his players bounce and chest passes during shooting drills.
“He’s not going to change who he is,” starting guard Wesley Matthews said. “He’s going to stay true to his roots. That’s what got him to where he’s at. I have a lot of respect for that.”
Said Canales: “I was just going through our normal pregame routine with Wesley and LaMarcus (Aldridge). It was a good warm-up session.”
And will he continue to do that?
“Yes,” Canales said. “All season.”
Canales has been with the Blazers organization since 2004, going from a video intern to video coordinator. In 2008, he was hired as an assistant coach.
Regarding Thursday’s changes, Matthews said, “It’s a business. You wish him (McMillan) the best of luck. He’s done a lot for Portland and for coaching. This won’t be his last coaching job.”
Although Portland is in last place in the Northwest Division (20-23) and in 12th place overall in the Western Conference, reaching the playoffs remains the goal.
“We’re right there in the playoff race,” Blazers second-leading scorer Jamal Crawford said.
Canales is eager to get going.
“I’m extremely fired up,” Canales said. “I can’t wait to get out there on the court.”
Said Matthews: “We’re excited for him. It’s not under the ideal circumstances, but it’s something that he’s worked very hard for.”