A new era in Portland is about to begin.
After it was officially announced on June 4th that the Trail Blazers and Terry Stotts mutually agreed to part ways, the search began for the Blazers next head coach.
While many names were thrown out as potential candidates, it was one of the very first candidates that was ever linked to the Blazers who is reportedly set to become Portland’s 15th head coach in franchise history.
UPDATE: The Blazers officially announced Chauncey Billups as the franchise head coach Sunday evening.
“Chauncey is a proven leader with an elite basketball IQ that has won everywhere he has been,” said Neil Olshey via release. “He is prepared for the challenge of developing the Championship habits and strategic approach we need to achieve the expectations and goals for our franchise.”
"I'm very excited and humbled to be the next coach of the Trail Blazers," added Billups. "Portland is a special place and a unique franchise. As a player I always loved playing here because the passion and knowledge of the fans brought out the very best in me as a competitor. Now I'm looking forward to being on the other side of that energy and engaging with the Portland community on a whole other level.
"I want to thank Jody Allen, Bert Kolde and Neil Olshey for their trust and for giving me this incredible opportunity,” he continued. “And, most importantly, I want to say to the fans that I know what this team means to you, and I promise to pour every ounce into continuing to make you proud of what the Trail Blazers stand for."
The Blazers owner also spoke on the hiring.
“Chauncey is a proven and consistent winner with NBA championship experience as an All-NBA player,” said Jody Allen. "He has demonstrated throughout his career, first as a player, and currently as an Assistant Coach a unique ability to lead. We are very happy to welcome him to Portland."
Friday evening, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Trail Blazers had hired Chauncey Billups to fill their open head coaching vacancy.
Sunday evening, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski broke the Blazers had agreed to a five-year deal with Billups with includes a fifth-year team option.
The Blazers announced a Tuesday morning press conference to introduce the next head coach. That will be when Billups gets introduced.
Billups was among the candidates that the Blazers gave second interviews to which also included Mike D'Antoni and Becky Hammon.
But he was also one of the very first mentioned as a replacement for Stotts. Not to mention, the face of the franchise Damian Lillard had said he wanted Billups in Portland.
“I like J. Kidd and Chauncey.”
As a 17-year NBA veteran, Billups has been talked about as becoming a head coach in recent years, especially after he was hired on as an assistant in Nov. of 2020 under Ty Lue on the Los Angeles Clippers coaching staff.
Billups is also a guy who’s respected for his leadership skills.
And is the one the Blazers believe will right the ship on the defensive end and hold the team accountable.
Here's a quick breakdown of Billups' 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
And with Lillard’s game often compared to that of Billups, now the two will get set to work together.
However, Billups candidacy has been wrapped in controversy this weekend with Lillard declaring he had no knowledge of the sexual assault allegations towards Billups and with Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports reporting Sunday morning the franchise guard may ask out of Portland due to backlash for hiring Billups and the team's inability to build a contending roster.
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 out of court.
Wojnarowski reports the team did an "independent investigation" into the events before offering Billups the job.