As the Trail Blazers look to get their head coaching search underway following the departure of Terry Stotts, Blazers star Damian Lillard has revealed his shortlist of possible candidates.
“I like J. Kidd and Chauncey,” Lillard told The Athletic.
Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach, Jason Kidd, has already withdrawn his name from the pool of candidates for the recently vacant head coaching gig. Los Angeles Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups has emerged as one of the frontrunners to become Stotts’ successor.
If you ask former NBA star, Rip Hamilton, he fully endorses Billups to become the Blazers 15th head coach.
“Yeah!” he responded when asked by TMZ Sports if he wants his former teammate to coach in Portland. “Chauncey wants to coach right now. Hopefully, he gets that opportunity."
Billups brings a plethora of basketball experience to the table. He spent 17 years as a player before becoming an assistant in 2020 with the Clippers.
“Chauncey Billups is one of the best leaders that I’ve ever been around,” Hamilton said. “I think he’ll be great for whoever gets him.”
On Monday, President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey told the media that the team has yet to reach out to any potential candidates, but they hope to do so soon. The Blazers will begin their coaching search with 20-24 candidates before presenting a more manageable interview list to Jody Allen.
Lillard is expected to be an integral part of the search process.
“Obviously, Dame’s opinion is very important…we very rarely make a big free agent decision, very rarely make a trade without his participation, and his insight, and that’ll be the same thing,” Olshey said.
After nine years, the Blazers and Stotts mutually parted ways following Portland's first-round loss to the Denver Nuggets. It was the Blazers fourth first-round exit in five years.
During his time in Portland, Stotts held a 402-318 overall regular season record while leading the Blazers to three Western Conference Semifinals and one West Finals matchup.