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Blazers asking permission to interview 7 or 8 coaching candidates originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest

The Trail Blazers’ search for a new head coach is moving forward and is now at the point of asking other teams’ permission to interview available candidates.

Portland started with a diverse list of about 20 potential candidates. That list was shared with the team’s chair person, Jody Allen, and vice chair Bert Kolde, for their feedback.

The team is in the process now of narrowing the scope to a manageable number and is currently in the process of requesting permission from current employers to conduct initial interviews with, according to a league source, approximately seven or eight candidates.

There is no timetable on the search, which will be initially conducted via Zoom interviews. When the list is whittled down to finalists, it is expected that in-person interviews will be conducted.

The Blazers reached agreement with Coach Terry Stotts to terminate his contract the day after his team was eliminated from the first round of the playoffs by the Denver Nuggets.

The team’s season-long defensive struggles led to Stotts’ departure. Denver played without its starting backcourt of Jamal Murray and Will Barton, but the Nuggets got surprising offensive performances from their backcourt backups.

Monte Morris averaged 15.3 points per game and shot 41.7 percent from three-point range. Austin Rivers averaged 11.5 ppg and shot 48.4 percent from three. Markus Howard averaged 5.5 ppg and shot 45 percent from behind the arc. Facundo Campazzo averaged 9.3 points and shot 34.6 from three.

In the first two games of the Denver-Phoenix series, Morris has scored a total of five points on 1-7 three-point shooting. Rivers has a total of 13 points on 2-8 shooting from distance. Howard has nine points on 2-6 three-point shooting. Campazzo has accumulated 17 points and has shot 4-11 from three.

Obviously, the Suns’ defense was much more ready and willing to defend the Denver guards than Portland was.

And Rivers and Morris have been turned into Rivers and Morris again. They no longer look like Curry and Thompson.