The Terry Stotts era has come to an end in Portland.
After nine seasons as the Portland Trail Blazers head coach, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Friday evening that the team and Terry Stotts have mutually agreed to part ways.
Stotts and Trail Blazers six-time All-Star Damian Lillard began their Portland tenure together in the summer of 2012.
But the Stotts era has run its course.
“I have the utmost respect for Terry and what he has accomplished these past nine seasons,” said President of basketball operations Neil Olshey said in the team's press release sent out Friday evening. “This was a difficult decision on both a personal and professional level but it’s in the best interest of the franchise to move in another direction. Terry will always hold a special place in the Trail Blazer family and the Portland community. We relied on the integrity, professionalism and consistency he brought to the job every day and we wish he and Jan nothing but the best.”
Portland introduced Stotts as the franchise’s 14th head coach on August 7, 2012.
During his time with the Blazers, Stotts held a 402-318 overall regular season record while leading Portland to three Western Conference Semifinals and one West Finals matchup.
This was his third head coaching position, but his longest tenure.
Stotts is a 27-year coaching veteran.
During his first season at the helm, the Blazers went 33–49, losing their final 13 games and eventually missing the playoffs.
But that Lillard and Stotts rookie season was the only time the duo didn’t take Portland to the postseason.
The 63-year-old, Iowa native is the first Trail Blazers head coach to reach the playoffs in eight consecutive seasons.
Many will remember the 2018-19 season most when reflecting on Stotts’ time in Portland -- the season that the Trail Blazers had a magical run to the Western Conference Finals.
Stotts led Portland to the team’s first trip to the West Finals in 19 years with memorable series victories over Oklahoma City followed by an unforgettable seven-game series win over Denver.
That season the Blazers went 53-29, good for third in the Western Conference.
That year also marked Stotts’ third 50-win season with the Blazers.
“We are all grateful for Terry’s contributions and his nine years with the Trail Blazers,” Jody Allen, chair of the Portland Trail Blazers said in the team's press release. “I appreciate his steadfast dedication to the players, the game, and the broader Portland community. We wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
Stotts was the fourth-longest tenured head coach in the league this past season.
He is also the second-winningest coach in franchise history behind only the legendary Jack Ramsay.
But now with eight playoff appearances and five First Round exits, the Blazers are turning the page.
Heading into the 2020-21 season, expectations were high coming of an offseason that saw defensive minded and skilled players heading to Portland.
With the additions of Robert Covington and Derrick Jones Jr., the pressure of turning around the team’s defense was elevated.
But after revamping the roster, the team’s defense instead regressed.
Portland went from the fourth-worst defensive-rated team in the NBA from last season to the second-worst in the league.
The Blazers finished the regular season 42-30 and did finish the year on high note avoiding the play-in tournament.
But with roster upgrades that were unable to put it together on the defensive end for long stretches coupled with another First Round playoff exit, Coach Stotts’ era in Portland was coming to an end.
That’s not to say that the players-first coach won’t be well remembered during his tenure.
The Trail Blazers search for their next head coach will begin immediately.
According to Wojnarowski, Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups, along with Jeff Van Gundy, Mike D’Antoni, and Michigan’s Juwan Howard are on the list of potential candidates to replace Stotts.