The Trail Blazers search for the successor to Terry Stotts is underway with more names added to the candidate list Saturday afternoon.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reports Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon, South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley, Clippers assistant coach Chauncey Billups, Nets assistant coach Mike D'Antoni and Spurs vice president of basketball operations Brent Barry are among the coaches in consideration.
Billups and D'Antoni have both been rumored by other reports, with the general concescus around the league being its Billups job to lose, but the names of Hammon, Staley and Barry are all new.
Hammon would be the first female NBA head coach in league history.
After a prolific WNBA career that included six All-Star appearances, four All-WNBA selections and leading the league in assists in 2007, Hammon has spent the past seven seasons serving as assistant to one of the NBA’s legendary coaches in Gregg Popovich. She made history earlier this season as the first woman to serve as an active NBA head coach when Popovich was ejected vs. the Los Angeles Lakers on Dec. 30.
Popovich made it clear that Hammon is ready to lead a team of her own.
"We didn't hire Becky to make history," Popovich said of Hammon via ESPN. "She earned it. She is qualified. She's wonderful at what she does. I wanted her on my staff because of the work that she does. And she happens to be a woman, which basically should be irrelevant but it's not in our world, as we've seen as it's been so difficult for women to obtain certain positions.”
If Staley gets the gig, she would become the first female NBA head coach in league history, rather than Hammon.
As for D'Antoni, Sam Amick of The Athletic reported this week D’Antoni has “serious interest” in the job and Jordan Schultz of ESPN reported the Blazers do have interest in the two-time NBA Coach of the Year.
Barry, a 15-year NBA veteran, has never coached in the NBA before.
These lists of candidates may all be a sham, however. Tuesday morning, John Hollinger of The Athletic wrote Billups "is the likely choice" per league sources. That sentiment has been repeated by nearly a dozen NBA insiders nationwide.
However, considering Neil Olshey said Monday the Blazers will be doing "biographical and impact studies" on all of their candidates, the franchise will need to address one dark part of his past.
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.