The two finalists for the Trail Blazers' head coaching vacancy had completed their interviews with owner Paul Allen in London and were preparing to fly back to the United States when Terry Stotts turned to Kaleb Canales and extended an olive branch.

"When we interviewed in London, we were coming back on the same flight," Stotts said during his introductory news conference last August. "As we were boarding, I said, 'If you get it, that's great. If I get it, I hope you'd consider being on my staff.'"

What Stotts didn't know at the time is that he, more or less, had just hired his first assistant coach.

There is perhaps nothing more important to an NBA head coach than having a group of hardworking and trustworthy assistant coaches, and most dot their staffs with longtime allies or colleagues they've worked with in the past. But shortly after that flight from London, when Allen made him the 14th coach in franchise history, Stotts had to take a different approach. It was early August. Most NBA coaching staffs were cemented for the 2012-13 season and all of Stotts' closest comrades already had jobs with other NBA teams. As he went about forming a nucleus to help set the foundation of a rebuilding franchise, Stotts was forced to scour an assistant coaching pool he rarely -- if ever -- had worked with and put his faith in his ability to gather the right group with instinct.