Chauncey Billups

D’Antoni Interviewing With Blazers On Monday; Billups, Hammon To Follow

The Trail Blazers are interviewing Nets assistant Mike D’Antoni on Monday for their open head coaching position, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

According to Wojnarowski, Portland also has interviews lined up early this week with Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups and Spurs assistant Becky Hammon. All three names were previously identified as candidates to replace Terry Stotts in Portland.

A previous report stated that D’Antoni has “serious interest” in coaching the Blazers, but that it wasn’t clear whether Portland reciprocated that interest. The team appears intrigued enough by D’Antoni to give him an interview, though head of basketball operations Neil Olshey has indicated that the search will be fairly expansive, with upwards of 20-to-25 candidates receiving consideration. As such, we shouldn’t read too much into a single meeting.

Billups has previously been cited as a potential frontrunner for the Blazers’ vacancy. He also received a public endorsement from star point guard Damian Lillard, who is expected to have a say in the team’s hire.

Becky Hammon To Interview For Trail Blazers’ Head Coaching Job

Spurs assistant Becky Hammon is among the candidates who will be interviewed for the Trail Blazers‘ head coaching vacancy, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Sources tell Charania that other names on Portland’s list include Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups, Nets assistant Mike D’Antoni, Spurs vice president of basketball operations Brent Barry and South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley.

Either Hammon or Staley would make history by becoming the NBA’s first-ever female head coach. Hammon will also interview for the head coaching job with the Magic, Charania adds.

Hammon, 44, has been on Gregg Popovich’s staff in San Antonio since 2014. She became the first woman to serve as a head coach in the Summer League in 2015 and was the first female on an All-Star Game coaching staff in 2016.

Staley, 51, is a member of both the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. She has coached the South Carolina women’s team since 2008 and has been coach of the USA national women’s team since 2017.

A report this week identified Billups and D’Antoni as candidates in Portland, with Billups considered to be the front-runner. He is also rumored to be in contention for the Celtics’ coaching vacancy.

After retiring from the NBA, Barry spent several years as a broadcaster before joining the Spurs in a front-office role in 2018. He has no previous coaching experience.

Blazers Notes: D’Antoni, Billups, Lillard, McCollum

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.

Outside Names Emerge In Celtics’ Coaching Search

New Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens has begun reaching out to other organizations for permission to interview coaching candidates, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojanarowski.

The early group of candidates will likely be expansive, according to Woj. A few names he has heard from sources include Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups, Bucks assistants Darvin Ham and Charles Lee, Mavericks assistant Jamahl Mosley, and Nets assistant Ime Udoka.

Billups and Udoka have been mentioned before in relation to Boston, but the other three names are new. Ham, who played 12 NBA seasons, has been an assistant coach for the past decade, starting with the Lakers and then working under Mike Budenholzer in both Atlanta and Milwaukee. Lee is also a former NBA player with seven years as an assistant, all under Budenholzer. Mosley started his coaching career with the Nuggets in 2005 and has been with Dallas since 2014.

Stevens, who is in the unusual position of hiring his own replacement, recently completed interviews with several assistants who were on his staff this season. Prominent names in that group include Jay Larranaga, Scott Morrison, Jerome Allen, and Joe Mazzulla.

Follow the developments on all the coaching vacancies throughout the league with our Head Coaching Search Tracker.

Blazers Rumors: Billups, Lillard, Roster Changes, Kidd

On Monday, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report said there have been whispers among league personnel for weeks about Chauncey Billups being the most likely candidate to replace Terry Stotts as the Trail Blazers‘ head coach.

Today, John Hollinger of The Athletic echoed that point, writing that league sources view Billups as the likeliest choice for the Blazers. That belief may be one reason why Jason Kidd removed his name from consideration for the Portland job so quickly, Hollinger speculates.

Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey said on Monday that the team will look at upwards of 20-to-25 candidates, so it doesn’t sound like he has zeroed on Billups quite yet. However, it’s worth noting that Billups – along with Kidd – was one of the candidates Damian Lillard endorsed last week. And Olshey confirmed during his press conference on Monday that Lillard will have a say in the hiring process, as Jason Quick of The Athletic details.

“Obviously, Dame’s opinion is very important,” Olshey said. “If you ask him, we have very rarely made a big free-agent decision, very rarely made a trade without his participation and his insight. And it will be the same thing (with this coaching hire).”

According to Olshey, when the team made its decision on Stotts, Lillard was the first player to be informed.

“I called Dame to let him know we were making a coaching change, and I kind of told him the model of what we are looking at in terms of profile and the kind of candidates we would be looking at,” Olshey said, per Quick. “And I said, ‘Hey, if you have a few names, let me know.’ And he gave me a couple names. It’s unfortunate it was made public, because it didn’t actually serve the guys whose names were thrown out there. It certainly didn’t serve them well in the ensuing 48 hours.”

Here’s more on the Blazers:

  • Olshey said on Monday that finding a coach capable of improving the Blazers’ defense will be a top priority. As Quick writes, Olshey pointed to certain teams – such as the Knicks and Hawks – that made defensive improvements after changing coaches without major roster shakeups. “Teams that made big jumps on the defensive end were led in part by coaches who players knew on day one they were going to have to defend and be held accountable on that end of the floor because that’s what the coach valued,” Olshey said.
  • Although Olshey didn’t close the door on roster changes, he argued on Monday that the Blazers’ first-round loss “was not a product of the roster,” according to Hollinger. He also suggested that the coaching hire is Portland’s top priority since it’s a decision that the team can fully control. “We don’t control whether or not a superstar player wants to come to Portland or not. Or whether we have the pieces to get a deal done for that level of player,” Olshey said, per Quick. “But right now, we do control one element where we think we can find someone who can make more of an impact — with the current group, with improvements coming in the offseason — to get us to the level we expect to be at.”
  • Asked on Monday about changes to the roster, Olshey declined to specifically discuss any players, stating his preference not to do in a public forum. “We are going to look to make our team better; nothing is ever off the table if it advances us closer to a championship,” he said, per Quick. “But I’m not going to start bandying names about because people in the media think that there is some predetermined resistance to making a trade.”
  • Following Lillard’s public endorsement of Kidd, there was some back-and-forth between Lillard’s camp and the Blazers’ front office, according to Quick, who believes that conversation may have revolved around the team’s concerns about Kidd’s domestic violence history.

Fischer’s Latest: Celtics’ Front Office, Ainge, Billups, Brown, More

As the Celtics transition from the Danny Ainge era to the Brad Stevens (presidential) era, they will have a lot of decisions to make, both in regards to the front office and the coaching staff. Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer suggests that two names to watch in regards to the front office are current assistant general manager Mike Zarren and director of player personnel Dave Lewin. Both are long-time members of the Celtics organization and seem set to move up the organizational hierarchy.

Fischer writes that Zarren has long been the primary voice in trade negotiations, and that there is belief that Stevens will out-rank him as a decision maker more in name than in practice. If Zarren is promoted to general manager, it’s believed that Lewin will be promoted to assistant general manager.

Another name Fischer mentions is Hawks assistant general manager Landry Fields, who has previously been cited as a potential front office candidate for the Celtics.

“All teams are monitoring Landry Fields,” said a Western Conference executive, “because he’s going to get a real shot here to run his own team soon.”

Here’s more from Fischer:

  • While the possibility of Ainge joining the Jazz has been previously reported, Fischer adds that Ainge has also been linked by league sources to the Trail Blazers in some capacity. The Blazers have already fired longtime coach Terry Stotts after the team’s first round exit, and more shake-ups may be on the way.
  • Chauncey Billups may not have experience as a head coach, but Fischer says Billups has been considered the lead candidate among league personnel to replace Stotts as the Trail Blazers‘ head coach for weeks now. The former Pistons point guard – and current Clippers assistant – is considered one of the top head coach candidates on the market.
  • Mike Brown is on the lookout for another head coaching job after five years as an assistant coach with the Warriors, according to Fischer’s sources. Brown is a veteran who has previously been the head coach for the Cavaliers and Lakers, but he hasn’t had a team of his own since the 2013-2014 season.
  • With so many options on the market, it seems unlikely that the Celtics head coach will come from the team’s bench, according to Fischer, who says people around the league don’t expect the Celtics to promote an assistant coach with no prior experience head coaching in the NBA.

Jason Kidd Won’t Seek Trail Blazers’ Coaching Job

Jason Kidd has decided not to be a candidate for the Trail Blazers’ vacant head coaching job, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

“Portland’s a first-class organization and will have great candidates for its head coaching job, but I’ve decided not to be one of them,” Kidd said. “Whoever they choose will have big shoes to fill from Terry (Stotts).”

According to Wojnarowski, Kidd became uncomfortable with seeking the Trail Blazers’ job after star guard Damian Lillard said Friday that Kidd was his top choice. Kidd was concerned that Lillard’s public comment would put the team in an awkward position if he interviewed for the post.

“Jason Kidd is the guy I want,” Lillard said after news broke that Stotts won’t be returning next season.

Kidd, a former head coach with the Nets and Bucks, has been the top assistant to Frank Vogel with the Lakers for the past two seasons.

Sources tell Wojnarowski that the Blazers haven’t talked to any potential candidates yet or reached out for permission to interview anybody, but that process should begin once the last first-round series wraps up today.

Portland is expected to consider Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups, former Knicks and Rockets head coach Jeff Van Gundy and Michigan coach Juwan Howard, sources tell ESPN.

Lillard Favors Kidd For Blazers’ Job, Also Likes Billups

Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard has already gone on the record regarding Terry Stotts’ potential replacement, and he favors two other former All-Star point guards.

Lillard told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports that he’d like to see Lakers assistant Jason Kidd get the job. Portland parted ways with Stotts, its nine-year head coach, on Friday night after the Blazers’ latest early playoff exit.

“Jason Kidd is the guy I want,” Lillard said.

Haynes reported shortly after the news broke of Stotts’ departure that Lillard would have significant input in the hiring process. Stotts has been his only head coach since he entered the league.

According to Haynes, Lillard and Kidd “have a great relationship” and Lillard has great respect for Kidd’s basketball acumen and knowledge, believing he could get the team to the next level.

In a story written by The Athletic’s Jason Quick and Shams Charania, Lillard added another name to the mix — Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups.

“I like J. Kidd and Chauncey,” Lillard said.

The Athletic story added that Dame prefers Kidd, mainly due to his head coaching experience, but that Portland’s front office is intrigued by Billups. It’s believed that the job will go to one or the other.

Kidd’s record as a head coach — one season with the Nets and three-plus seasons with the Bucks — is 183-190. He was fired by Milwaukee midway through the 2017/18 campaign. He’s been one of the Lakers’ top assistants under Frank Vogel the last two seasons.

Billups, the 2004 Finals MVP, joined Ty Lue’s staff after a stint with ESPN.

Billups, ABC broadcaster and former Rockets/Knicks head coach Jeff Van Gundy, former head coach and current Nets assistant Mike D’Antoni, and University of Michigan head coach and former Heat assistant Juwan Howard were named as potential candidates by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Blazers didn’t want to make a hasty decision on Stotts’ status but the 63-year-old coach and his agent wanted a quick resolution so that they could explore other opportunities, according to The Athletic. Stotts is believed to be a candidate for the Pacers job if they move on from Nate Bjorkgren.

Lillard heaped praise on Stotts and wished things had turned out differently.

“I feel down about it, because I’m not much a fan of change,” Lillard said. “And every memory of mine in this uniform includes him.”

However, there were increasing concerns about Stotts’ ability to connect with his players and make in-game adjustments.

Terry Stotts Won’t Return As Trail Blazers Coach

10:01pm: The team has confirmed in a press release that Stotts will not return.

“I have the utmost respect for Terry and what he has accomplished these past nine seasons,” president of basketball operations Neil Olshey said in a statement. “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.”


9:40pm: The Trail Blazers and longtime head coach Terry Stotts have mutually agreed to part ways, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

Stotts, 63, has been the team’s head coach since the 2012/13 season. Portland has qualified for the playoffs in eight consecutive seasons but only made the conference finals in 2018/19, when they were swept by the Warriors. The Blazers have been eliminated in the first round in two consecutive years, and four of the last five.

Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups, ABC broadcaster and former Rockets/Knicks head coach Jeff Van Gundy, former head coach and current Nets assistant Mike D’Antoni, and University of Michigan head coach and former Heat assistant Juwan Howard are expected to receive consideration for the job, Wojnarowski reports in a separate tweet.

The Blazers’ quick exit in this year’s playoffs was unexpected. They were facing a depleted Nuggets team, missing starting guards Jamal Murray and Will Barton, while all of their own starters were healthy. Despite some stellar performances from Damian Lillard, Portland was eliminated in six games.

Lillard has played under Stotts throughout his career. The All-Star point guard will have a major say on Stotts’ replacement, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets.

In his nine seasons with Portland, Stotts accumulated a regular-season record of 402-318 (.558). However, the Blazers went 22-40 (.355) in those postseason appearances. Stotts had one more guaranteed year on his contract, with a team option for 2022/23.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Celtics Will Start Coaching Search With Internal Interviews

The first step in the Celtics‘ search for a new head coach to replace Brad Stevens will begin with several internal candidates, according to Jared Weiss of The Athletic. Chris Mannix of SI.com suggested as much earlier today.

Boston’s head coaching position opened up this morning when Danny Ainge resigned as president of basketball operations and Stevens was chosen to replace him.

Weiss notes that Stevens’ staff has several strong candidates. Jay Larranaga interviewed for the Hornets’ head coaching spot before James Borrego was hired, and Scott Morrison and Brandon Bailey both coached at the team’s G League affiliate in Maine. Jerome Allen is a former NBA player with college head coaching experience at the University of Pennsylvania, while Jamie Young has been with the team since 2008.

Among external candidates, the most interesting name is Kara Lawson, who would become the first female NBA head coach if she gets the job. Lawson spent a year as an assistant in Boston before leaving in 2020 to become head coach of the women’s team at Duke. Others to watch, sources tell Weiss, include former Celtics players Sam Cassell, currently an assistant with the Sixers, and Chauncey Billups, who is on the Clippers‘ staff.

Weiss also expects interest in former Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce, Timberwolves assistant David Vanterpool, Lakers assistant Jason Kidd, Nets assistant Ime Udoka, Spurs assistant Becky Hammon and Bucks assistants Darvin Ham and Charles Lee. According to Weiss, another potential outsider is Juwan Howard if he’s willing to leave Michigan.