Trail Blazers

Wait a minute! Would Rick Carlisle be interested in Blazer job?

Trail Blazers

I had already convinced myself that Chauncey Billups was probably going to be the next head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers. He is not an experienced head coach, but someone who has a rich history in the league as a player, broadcaster and, this season, an assistant coach.

He would come in with immediate respect from his players and enough toughness and confidence to get the required changes done with the Trail Blazers.

But then Rick Carlisle happened.

The former coach of the Dallas Mavericks walked away from the job Thursday amid front-office chaos that had already seen the firing of General Manager Donnie Nelson and rumors of unhappiness on the part of star Luka Doncic.

This is a coach who has won 836 NBA games during his career, with a .548 winning percentage and a stunning 2011 NBA championship.

He's good. The numbers speak to that.

Carlisle has always been known as a terrific offensive coach. He has never been afraid, though, to have solid assistants who can handle his defense. He is an innovator and someone not afraid to make adjustments.

He's also a little quirky and different from the average coach. He will say what's on his mind and be a little unpredictable. He is very animated on the sidelines during games. He is respected enough by his peers to have been president of the National Basketball Coaches Association for the past 15 years.

He also has a background of spending three seasons as a Blazer assistant coach under P.J. Carlesimo.


Would he be a better choice than Billups? Would he even be interested in the Portland job? Remember, he spent three seasons as a player for the Boston Celtics -- another team with a vacant coaching job.

I don't know the answer to those questions. But it's going to be very interesting to see how it plays out.

Texts to Carlisle and Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey were not returned.