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Rumor: Trail Blazers owner Jody Allen interested in Becky Hammon as coach

Becky Hammon at Portland Trail Blazers v San Antonio Spurs

SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 16: Assistant Coach, Becky Hammon of the San Antonio Spurs looks on before the game against the Portland Trail Blazers on April 16, 2021 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photos by Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

The Trail Blazers were expected to hire Chauncey Billups as coach.

But Spurs assistant Becky Hammon has advanced in the search.

Marc Stein of The New York Times in his newsletter:

In Portland, there is a growing belief that Jody Allen, the team’s owner, has a strong interest in Becky Hammon, who has been an assistant coach in San Antonio for seven seasons in her quest to become the first woman to serve as a head coach in any of North America’s four major men’s team sports. Neil Olshey, Portland’s general manager, continues to be relentlessly linked to Chauncey Billups

Jody Allen never chose to own an NBA team. She inherited the franchise when her brother (Paul Allen) died three years ago. She’s believed to be only mildly interested in basketball.

The Trail Blazers should attempt to hire the best person for the job, regardless of gender.

But NBA teams have generally dismissed women out of hand for coaching vacancies. When not properly considering a significant pool of potential candidates, that’s not actually hiring the best person for the job.

Olshey knows Billups well after signing him to the Clippers a decade ago. Billups has many desirable traits for an NBA head coach.

But if Allen needs to push Olshey to look out of his comfort zone, more power to her. Hammon might be the best person for the job. It doesn’t require basketball expertise to promote a better hiring process.

However, it does require basketball expertise to evaluate coaching candidates and choose the best one.

It’s Allen’s team. If she wants Hammon hired, Hammon will get hired. But Allen has also entrusted Olshey to make these decisions.

Also: I also wouldn’t totally assume Allen is advocating for Hammon. Because they are both women, people can lazily make a connection that doesn’t exist then spread rumors.

But it is at least a plausible explanation for why Portland’s search appears more complex than initially expected.

Another plausible explanation for the drawn-out process: Billups, a Clippers assistant coach, is still working in the playoffs.