Report: Chauncey Billups agrees to become next Blazers coach
UPDATE: It came together quickly, and Chauncey Billups has gone from being a frontrunner for the Portland Trail Blazers head coaching job to the guy who got the gig. Shams Charania of The Athletic broke the news.
Billups will finish out this season on Tyronn Lue’s staff with the Los Angeles Clippers, then will slide into the Trail Blazers job.
Portland takes a risk hiring a first-time head coach, there were even more experienced assistants out there (and ones with less old baggage), but a lot of teams have had their eye on Billups, he is seen as a leader of men — and he is the guy Lillard wanted.
Who should be the next Portland Trail Blazers coach? Whoever Damian Lillard wants to be the next coach.
There has been some buzz around the league that since Jason Kidd withdrew his name from the Trail Blazers search, Lillard backed the candidacy of Chauncey Billups. Now come reports from both Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and Shams Charania of The Athletic that Billups is the front runner.
Chauncey Billups has emerged as the frontrunner to be offered the Portland Trail Blazers head coaching job, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 26, 2021
Billups is still a little busy with his day job as an assistant coach under Tyronn Lue for the Clippers, but a deal with the Blazers could be worked out.
Because of ties to Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey, Billups has been one of the frontrunners for this job from the minute Portland decided to let go of long-time coach Terry Stotts. Mike D’Antoni interviewed and was in the mix as well. There have been reports that team owner Jody Allen was leaning toward Spurs assistant Becky Hammon, but in the NBA it becomes about what the star players want.
Especially if that player is antsy, as is reported about Lillard. He is the best player in franchise history but after the season appeared to be evaluating his loyalty to the organization. Lillard wants to win big, and he wants it to happen fast.
Which is why this coaching job is a pressure cooker. The roster as constructed is likely a bottom-four playoff seed in the West, maybe a play-in team, but if this team doesn’t win big in the next year or two Lillard could decide to push his way out — then this coaching job changes completely. That puts pressure on Olshey to upgrade the roster — no matter what he said at his end-of-season press conference this is not a good defensive team — and on whoever becomes the next coach.
Which appears it will be Billups.