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TRIBUNE PHOTO: DAVID BLAIR - The agent for Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts is expected to seek a longer-term contract for his client.As the Trail Blazers enter the NBA playoffs, Terry Stotts is on a short list of candidates for the league’s coach of the year award.


Stotts is also — in a way — a lame-duck coach.

The Cedar Falls, Iowa, native is in his fourth season as Portland’s head coach. When Stotts was hired by general manager Neil Olshey in August 2012, he signed a two-year contract with a team option. After the Blazers beat Houston and advanced to the second round of the playoffs in 2014, Stotts was rewarded with a two-year extension.

So at the end of the playoffs, Olshey will have the option to give Stotts another season, extend his contract — or let him go.

Olshey is not tipping his hat about his intentions. When asked Wednesday night if there have been any contract negotiations for Stotts, Olshey replied brusquely, “There are no negotiations. We don’t talk contracts during a season. It’s as simple as that.”

Agent Warren LeGarie is in the unusual situation of representing both Olshey and Stotts. LeGarie was responsible for helping Olshey get a promotion to president of basketball operations and a three-year extension that was announced in January 2015 — yes, in the middle of a season.

“Each situation is unto itself,” LeGarie said Wednesday via telephone from Dallas, explaining how it works to represent both a GM and coach. “When I was there negotiating for Neil, you negotiate for Neil. With Terry, it’s for Terry. You don’t confuse the two. That’s why it’s always worked.”

Stotts, 58, said he has not dwelt on his contract status.

“That happens in basketball,” he said. “If it bothers you, you shouldn’t be in this profession. You’re going to be in that situation at times. The best thing is to not concern yourself, go about your job and do the best you can.”

Stotts said he and his wife, Jan, have enjoyed their time in the City of Roses.

“I was in Seattle for six years,” Stotts said. “I was in Milwaukee the first time for four, in Dallas for four. If you’re able to spend four years in one place in this league, it means you’re doing something well.

“My wife and I love it here in Portland. The fan base is great. The organization is great. I couldn’t be in a better situation.”

Stotts has been embraced his players, including veterans Ed Davis and Chris Kaman, both playing under their sixth NBA coach.

“I’ve had every personality as a coach you can possibly think of,” Davis said. “I can’t say one bad thing about Coach Stotts, from his coaching style to how he treats people. I always say I want to play hard for him every night. I probably want to play harder for him than I do for myself. It’s all respect from here.

“An NBA coach can’t make 15 guys happy. It’s impossible. But everybody respects him. He has a great basketball mind and he’s a great person. He comes in every day and talks to everyone, has conversations with strength and conditioning people, security people — everybody. The chemistry we have on this team starts with him and his staff.”

Kaman has played sparingly in this, his 13th NBA season. He is still one of Stotts’ biggest supporters.

“They should rip up his contract and give him a five-year deal — in player terms, a max deal,” Kaman said. “That’s my guy.

“He does a great job, and honestly, who thought we’d get 30 wins with this team, let alone 44? It’s a testament to what him and his staff are doing, and also to the players. We have a good group of guys. Everybody fits well. It’s been a pretty good year for everybody.”

Stotts is making $3 million this season, according to LeGarie, which is far lower than the most lucrative coaching contracts in the league. San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich ($11 million) and the Clippers’ Doc Rivers ($10 million) are the highest-paid coaches. Other coaches making more than $5 million this season are Dallas’ Rick Carlisle and Detroit’s Stan Van Gundy ($7 million) and Oklahoma City’s Billy Donovan ($6 million).

LeGarie sounds as if he will seek a longer extension for Stotts.

“You would hope his body of work says it all,” LeGarie said. “This time, we’re probably going to take a bit of a stand. You can’t keep putting him in (a lame-duck) position. I’m hoping (Blazer owner Paul Allen and Olshey) feel the same way.

“I’m always optimistic. If they’re not interested, there are a lot of teams that will be.”

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Twitter: @kerryeggers

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