Blazers

Damian Lillard caught in the middle of Chauncey Billups backlash

Blazers

On Friday, reports surfaced of the Portland Trail Blazers plans to hire Chauncey Billups as the franchise’s 15th head coach.

Rumors had been floating about Billups’ potential hire since Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard named him as one of two potential candidates for Portland’s head coaching vacancy.

“I like J. Kidd and Chauncey,” Lillard told The Athletic earlier this month.

Since then, fans have expressed their frustrations over Billups being named the likely Blazers coach, citing a previous incident he had in 1997. 

When Billups was a rookie with the Celtics, a woman accused him and Ron Mercer of rape at the home of Antoine Walker. Billups and Mercer settled the suit with the unidentified woman, paying her an undisclosed amount out of court.

In a tweet on Saturday, Lillard responded to a fan’s reaction of the reported Billups hire which called the move “on Dame IMO (in my opinion).”

 

The Trail Blazers guard acknowledged he was merely choosing his favorites from a pre-selected list. He also shared he was not aware of Billups’ history at the time. 

Lillard, who turns 31 on July 15, was just 8 years old when Billups’ accuser filed a lawsuit claiming she was raped by the then Celtics guard and his teammate. 

He doubled down on his response moments later.

As of Saturday, the Trail Blazers have not yet announced Billups’ hire. NBCSNW’s Dwight Jaynes confirmed Friday that the Clippers assistant coach verbally agreed to a deal with Portland, but contract negotiations have not yet been finalized.