Trail Blazers give Chauncey Billups his first head coaching job
The Portland Trail Blazers have hired Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups as their new coach.
“Portland is a special place and a unique franchise,“ Billups said in a statement Sunday night. “As a player I always loved playing here because the passion and knowledge of the fans brought out the very best in me as a competitor. Now I’m looking forward to being on the other side of that energy and engaging with the Portland community on a whole other level.”
The Trail Blazers have scheduled a Tuesday news conference to introduce Billups, 44. He becomes the 15th head coach of the franchise.
“Chauncey is a proven leader with an elite basketball IQ that has won everywhere he has been,” said Neil Olshey, Portland’s president of basketball operations. “He is prepared for the challenge of developing the championship habits and strategic approach we need to achieve the expectations and goals for our franchise.”
The Blazers were also interested in Brooklyn Nets assistant Mike D’Antoni, as well as San Antonio Spurs assistant Becky Hammon.
The first elimination game of the conference finals arrives Monday and the Clippers will look to successes of Game 4 in latest plan to survive vs. Suns.
Lakers assistant Jason Kidd withdrew his name from consideration after it was reported that Blazers guard Damian Lillard had endorsed him for the job.
Over the course of his career, Billups played for Boston, Toronto, Denver, Minnesota, Detroit, New York and the Clippers. Known as Mr. Big Shot, he was voted the 2004 NBA Finals MVP while with the championship-winning Pistons.
Clippers coach Tyronn Lue added Billups to his staff last November after replacing Doc Rivers.
Word that the Trail Blazers had settled on Billups was first reported on Friday. The decision was met with backlash in Portland because of allegations that he was involved in a sexual assault in 1997. No criminal charges were filed.
The Trail Blazers fired Terry Stotts shortly after the team was eliminated by the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs.
A team from the Inland Empire has created one of the leading platforms for basketball highlights with the help of Lakers assistant coach Phil Handy.
Stotts coached the Blazers for nine seasons, taking them to the playoffs in the last eight. But Portland failed to advance past the first round in four of the last five years.
The 63-year-old Stotts was the NBA’s fourth-longest-tenured coach this past season, behind only San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich, Miami’s Erik Spoelstra and Dallas’ Rick Carlisle. Stotts went 402-318 in his nine regular seasons in Portland and led the Trail Blazers to the Western Conference finals in 2019, where they were swept by Golden State.
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