Related topics

Drexler Might Return to Blazers

May 31, 2001

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ The next Portland Trail Blazers coach won’t be Clyde Drexler.

The leading scorer in franchise history removed his name from consideration Wednesday, and took a shot at team president and general manager Bob Whitsitt.

``I am disappointed that the current management team, led by Bob Whitsitt, has not been more communicative during this process,″ Drexler said in a statement.

Drexler had not been considered a leading candidate to replace Mike Dunleavy, who was fired earlier this month after the Blazers were swept in the first round of the playoffs.

Despite his comments, Drexler, who had his number retired by the team earlier this year, said he would still like a front office job with the Blazers. He has said that owner Paul Allen wants him play an important role in the franchise.

``I plan to continue my discussions with Mr. Allen in regards to a meaningful position with the Blazers front office,″ the statement said.

Whitsitt, who issued a response Wednesday, said Drexler’s comments caught him by surprise.

Whitsitt said he told Drexler’s agent that Drexler was not on his short list of coaching candidates, but could enhance his position with an interview.

``Today’s statement is the first I have heard from Clyde, and frankly, that surprised me very much,″ Whitsitt said.

Whitsitt, who signed a contract extension last June, has been assured by Allen that he will return next season in the same position. His statement seemed to indicate that he will not be working with Drexler.

``I have had conversations, as late as today, with Paul Allen, who said that at this time there are no front office positions open,″ Whitsitt’s statement said.

Wednesday’s statement was not the first sign that Drexler, who turns 39 in June, has a bad relationship with Whitsitt.

Drexler was critical of Whitsitt, who fired many front office personnel when he was hired in 1994. Seven months later, Whitsitt granted Drexler’s request to be traded, sending him to Houston.

Update hourly