The Portland Trail Blazers’ head coaching search is underway after the team parted ways with Terry Stotts following their first-round loss to the Denver Nuggets.
On Monday, President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey laid out a vision and a plan for the franchise's next head coach.
Olshey is looking for the next head coach to improve the Blazers defensively, someone with strong leadership qualities that holds people accountable. The next head coach will have already have coaching experience, as well.
In total, the Blazers will start with 20-25 candidates and cut it down to a more manageable interview list.
As of Monday, Olshey had not reached out to any potential candidate.
But, after Terry Stotts parted ways with the Blazers, two names emerged: Jason Kidd and Chauncey Billups.
Damian Lillard vocalized public support for both, but Kidd withdrew himself from consideration.
Well, Kidd was uncomfortable with the idea of pursuing the Blazers head coaching vacancy after Blazers point guard Damian Lillard told Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports that “Jason Kidd is the guy I want.”
So, now what?
Billups, a 17-year NBA veteran, and current Clippers assistant coach is now viewed as the favorite to become the 15th head coach in Blazers history.
Although he’s spent multiple decades in the league as a player and one as an assistant, Billups is a man teams were clamoring for once it became known he wanted to become a head coach one day.
Getting his coaching experience with the title-contending Clippers is the best learning experience. During his days as a player, general managers in 2012 voted Billups as the player who would one day make the best coach.
He’s a guy who’s respected for his leadership skills and played a role in reviving the Detroit Pistons, which included a championship and seven straight Eastern Conference Finals appearances; helping the Denver Nuggets make the Western Conference finals in 2009 after a 24-year absence; helped the New York Knicks make the playoffs in 2011 for the first time in six years.
Winning is what Billups has done and his pedigree is what the Blazers need.
Neil Olshey said Monday the Blazers will be doing "biographical and impact studies" on all of their candidates.
And there is something from Billups' past that he will have to address.
When Billups was a rookie with the Boston Celtics in 1997, a woman accused Billups and Ron Mercer of rape at the home of Antoine Walker.
Billups and Mercer settled the lawsuit with the unidentified woman, paying her an undisclosed amount.
Should the Blazers entertain other candidates, here are 10+ candidates they may look at.