Since Terry Stotts was let go by the Trail Blazers, multiple reports have suggested that Portland has some interest in Mike D’Antoni has a potential head coaching candidate. However, Sam Amick of The Athletic frames things a little differently.
A source with knowledge of D’Antoni’s situation tells Amick that the two-time Coach of the Year has “serious interest” in coaching the Blazers. Amick says it remains to be seen whether that interest will be reciprocated.
D’Antoni’s reputation as a “point guard whisperer” could make him a good fit in Portland, Amick notes, but other aspects of his résumé may work against him. The Blazers will be seeking a head coach who can get them over the hump in the playoffs and who can improve the team’s defense. D’Antoni’s teams over the years have always stalled out before reaching the NBA Finals and have generally been offensive juggernauts rather than defensive stalwarts.
The Blazers are expected to cast a wide net in their coaching search, considering upwards of 20-to-25 candidates, so D’Antoni could certainly get a look. Amick is the latest reporter to name Chauncey Billups as the presumed frontrunner though.
Here’s more on the Blazers:
- Although Damian Lillard‘s situation in Portland is worth keeping an eye on, reports of teams around the NBA monitoring and/or inquiring on the All-Star guard aren’t particularly newsworthy, says Chris Mannix of SI.com. “We check in every year,” one rival team executive told Mannix. “You would be an idiot not to.”
- Meanwhile, the Blazers’ other starting guard, CJ McCollum, said on Twitter that he’s not offended by seeing his name constantly pop up in trade rumors. “I work hard, show up and do my job to the best of my ability,” he said. “Everyone has a right to their own opinion. Even if that means they want to see me traded. It’s a part of life when you play this sport.”
- In case you missed it, we passed along several Blazers notes and comments from president of basketball operations Neil Olshey earlier in the week.