The Portland Trail Blazers, mired in fifth place in the NBA's Pacific Division, Saturday fired Coach Mike Schuler and replaced him with long-time assistant Rick Adelman.
"We were not going in the right direction," said Bucky Buckwalter, the team's vice president of basketball operations. He said the final decision to fire Schuler midway through his third season as Portland coach was made Friday night.Adelman, 42, took over the club in time for Saturday night's home game against Seattle. He said he had talked to most of the players and would meet with the entire team before the game.
"We're going to try to turn this thing as quickly as possible," said Adelman. "We need a more upbeat attitude."
Adelman was appointed "on an interim basis," but Buckwalter said he would lead the team at least for the rest of the season and team officials said they have no plans to look for another coach.
Several players have been unhappy with Schuler's coaching recently. The team, considered a preseason contender for the division title, compiled a 25-22 record and was seven games behind the Los Angeles Lakers in the division entering Saturday's game.
Adelman has been a Portland assistant coach since 1983.