Trail Blazers

Report: Blazers 'locked in' on hiring Billups as head coach

Trail Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers reportedly are close to hiring Los Angeles Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups as their next head coach.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and The Athletic's Shams Charania both reported the news on Friday evening. Wojnarowski called Billups the "frontrunner" for the job while Charania said Portland was "locked in" on Billups.

The hiring wouldn't be unexpected, as Billups came with a strong endorsement from Blazers star Damian Lillard. Lillard reportedly sat in on Billups' meeting with the team last week.

Soon after the Blazers parted ways with Terry Stotts, Lillard made his desire to play for either Billups or Jason Kidd clear. Once Kidd withdrew his name from consideration, Billups became an obvious top candidate. Spurs assistant Becky Hammond reportedly was another strong candidate.

Famously known as Mr. Big Shot, Billups averaged 15.2 points per game over 17 NBA seasons. He was named NBA Finals MVP for the Detroit Pistons in 2004 and made five All-Star appearances.

Billups has just one year of NBA coaching experience, serving on the Clippers' staff under Ty Lue during the 2020-21 season. Before coaching, he served as an NBA analyst for ESPN following his retirement in 2014.