Shortly after the Trail Blazers fell in six games to the Denver Nuggets to bow out of the playoffs in the first round for the fourth time in five seasons, the team mutually parted ways with Terry Stotts.
With the franchise’s second-winningest coach out in Portland, an extensive search began to find the Blazers next head coach.
And that search is over.
Sunday night, the team announced that Chauncey Billups, the current assistant coach with the Los Angeles Clippers, would become the 15th head coach to lead the Trail Blazers.
Here are five things from on the court to know about Chauncey Billups:
He’s played for eight NBA teams
Before Billups set his sights on a coaching career, he played for eight NBA teams, was traded five times and amnestied once.
Billups wasn’t an instant star from Day 1. After being drafted third-overall by the Boston Celtics, he played just 51 games in Boston before being traded to the Toronto Raptors at the NBA’s trade deadline. He didn’t last long with the Raptors either. Billups played until January 1999 in Toronto before he was again traded, this time to the Orlando Magic. He didn’t play a single game in Orlando as he waited out his rookie contract.
In the summer of 2000, Billups signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves as a free agent. Billups served as the backup point guard to Terrell Brandon before Brandon suffered a knee injury. This opened up the door for Billups, who helped lead the Timberwolves to a 50-win season, before they were swept by the Mavericks in the first round. Billups averaged 22 points in the series and that breakthrough season aided him in finding his next NBA destination: the Detroit Pistons.
Billups’ career with the Pistons cemented his NBA legacy. His long list of accolades includes winning a championship with the Pistons in 2004, being named NBA Finals MVP that same season, earning NBA All-Star honors from 2006-10 and becoming named to the NBA All-Defensive Team twice in 2005 and 2006.
He’s played with and played under the best
Over Billups’ tremendous career, he’s played for legendary coaches including George Karl to Mike D’Antoni to Rick Pitino.
In 17 NBA seasons, Billups teamed up with players such as Carmelo Anthony on the Knicks and Nuggets to Rasheed Wallace on the Pistons and Kevin Garnett on the Timberwolves.
He and Neil Olshey go back
Billups’ history with Neil Olshey, Trail Blazers President of Basketball Operations, goes back to 2011.
After being amnestied by the Knicks, Olshey who was then the Clippers general manager, claimed Billups from the Knicks. Billups played under Olshey in Los Angeles for two years before returning to Detroit on a two-year deal. Billups struggled with injuries in his return to the Pistons and the team declined to pick up his final year option. He retired in 2014 and his No. 1 was retired by the Pistons two seasons later.
Billups returned to the Clippers in 2020 as an assistant coach under Tyronn Lue.
His NBA resume speaks volumes
Over his illustrious 17-year career, Billups built up a terrific resume. Here’s a look at his top accolades and other NBA career notes:
NBA Champion with the Pistons in 2004
NBA Finals MVP in 2004
Five-time NBA All-Star (2006-2010)
Two-time NBA All-Defensive Second Team in 2005 and 2006
All-NBA Second-Team in 2006
Two-time All-NBA Third Team in 2007 and 2009
Earned the NBA Sportsmanship Award in 2009
Was NBA Teammate of the Year in 2013
Billups played in 1,043 career games averaging 15.2 points, 5.4 assists, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.0 steals per game
Earned the nickname "Mr. Big Shot" for his late-game heroics
He’s helped lead the Clippers to their first WCF
The one thing that's followed Billups throughout his career is winning.
When he got to Detroit, they made it to the finals; landed in Denver, and led them to the Western Conference Finals; dealt to New York, and ended their playoff drought.
Is there any coincidence the Clippers make their first Western Conference Finals and Billups just so happen to be on the coaching staff? Probably not.
In his first year as an assistant coach, he's gained valuable experience on a title-contending team.
ESPN's Ramona Shelburne has noted Billups' presence has been a positive influence on Paul George and Reggie Jackson. Two of the Clippers' leaders on their deep playoff run.
"If you see [the Clippers] during games, that's who they're talking to. They're going over to Chaunce and he's going through a lot of what they're trying to do on the court," said Shelburne