The Blazers have been diligent in their search for Terry Stotts’ successor.
As of now, Portland has trimmed its list to Spurs assistant Becky Hammon, Nets assistant Mike D’Antoni, and Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups.
Billups, also a 17-year NBA veteran, has been viewed as the favorite for some time, and according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, his second interview with the team featured Blazers star Damian Lillard.
“Dame Lillard has been invested in the coaching search, I think there are certain candidates that he prefers,” Windhorst said. “They’ve interviewed a number of candidates, I was told that he sat in on the interview for Chauncey Billups. It was virtual ... he joined the Zoom meeting, but it’s not a normal thing I think for players to sit in on that."
Rightfully so. It’s the first coaching change Lillard is experiencing in his career and turning 31 in July, the next hire will be important. Whichever man or woman hired should be the person to elevate the team for the next couple of years.
Windhorst reiterated Lillard's desire to want to stay in Portland:
“I think Dame is still invested there, but I think before you’re trading CJ McCollum for places, I think Dame would like to make sure that like Norman Powell gets re-signed," Windhorst said. “I’m already seeing people say, “where is Dame going to get traded?” I don’t think he wants to get traded anywhere. But it’s not just about the coach they hire, it’s about what they do and spend money on.”
Lillard has already publicly endorsed Billups.