Nate McMillan has taken the year off from coaching basketball, instead spending time on the road, studying the game and his philosophies on it in hopes that he may get another crack in the NBA. The hosts in this interview ponder whether McMillan, who coached in Seattle from and Portland from, might wind up back in Seattle if and when the Sacramento franchise relocates there. Nate McMillan joined 710 ESPN Seattle with Bob and Groz to discuss why he’s not coaching this year, if he could see himself coaching in Seattle again, not helping out with Team USA going forward, the efforts of folks in Seattle to get a franchise back in the city and what it was like to be fired.
On why he’s not coaching in the NBA this year:
“Well, I’m looking forward to getting back into the league. Right now I’m just taking some time off and going around watching a lot of basketball. The last few months I’ve basically just been going around to practices and watching some of these coaches — NBA, high school, college coaches — and seeing what they’re doing. I want to stay close to the game so that when that opportunity comes again, if there’s something out here to pick up, I want to have it in my pocket.”
Would coming back to Seattle to coach again — if and when the city gets a team — be the perfect situation?
“I will say this: I’m not retired. I’m definitely looking to get back into coaching, and Seattle is a city I absolutely love, so there you go.”
You’re close with Coach K and he has said he’s done coaching Team USA. Are you going to remain a part of that?
“No, that was a decision we all really came to right after winning the gold this summer. We talked about it in and on our plane ride back to the States, we were presented with the opportunity to coach the team for 2012. We decided to basically give it one more shot, one more run at it. After we won the gold in London this year, I think we all kind of said that after seven years, we won three gold medals, we want to give some time to our families and to our programs, because it’s a huge commitment. And it’s even a bigger commitment for the head coach. And Coach K did a great job of basically giving the team a vision and accomplishing the gold medals in 2008, 2010 and 2012.”
Have you been following Seattle’s efforts to get a team back in the city?
“I have, and I think it’s going to happen. I think the NBA, I know the NBA wants a professional team in Seattle. It’s a great fan base. That fan base is showing what type of group they are by what they’ve done here over the last few years, keeping hope alive. … Seattle was one of the best cities in the country as far as sports teams. At that time, when I was playing, the Mariners were hot, the Seahawks were hot, the Sonics were hot. It was a great place for the sports fan. I know the NBA wants a team in Seattle, and hopefully that will get done here soon.”
What was the experience of being fired like?
“Really, it’s been an opportunity for me to really look at the league and look at what is going on with the players and the NBA and basketball in general. I think it’s really been somewhat of a blessing for me this year, to sit back and be able to look at game after game, every night. … It’s been somewhat of a blessing in the sense that I’ve taken this time to better look at myself and what I was doing as a coach and my philosophy, my system, my style of play. Now I’m a fan of the game and I’m looking at what fans are seeing on television and in the arenas. And I’ve gotten a good feel for what needs to be done. So it was not a shock, with the way we were playing last year, that the organization was going to be possibly looking in a new direction.”