The Portland Trail Blazer continue their search for a new head coach and have narrowed things down a bit. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Blazers are going for second interviews with two candidates: San Antonio Spurs assistant Becky Hammon and Los Angeles Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups. Hammon is currently in the offseason after the Spurs were eliminated in the play-in tournament. Billups is still coaching with the Clippers down 1-0 to the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Finals.
Update: Brooklyn Nets assistant Mike D’Antoni also got a second interview with the Blazers. He would be an interesting candidate if the team wants to hold onto both Dame and CJ McCollum long-term. D’Antoni’s innovative offenses have gotten teams deep into the playoffs but not all the way to the NBA Finals. Might this be his opportunity to get Lillard there?
Billups is an NBA Champion with the Detroit Pistons back in 2004 and was hired as an assistant under Tyronn Lue when he took over in L.A. heading into this season. Billups was considered a journeyman of sorts throughout his NBA career before sticking in Detroit and helping the Pistons advance to the Finals twice. Billups has also dabbled in TV as a broadcaster for ESPN after retiring.
Hammon was a 6-time All-Star in the WNBA, playing 16 seasons for New York and San Antonio. She has been an assistant for the Spurs under legendary coach Gregg Popovich since 2014. Hammon also played overseas and on the national stage for Team USA at the Olympics.
The Blazers fired coach Terry Stotts after being eliminated from the 2021 playoffs in the first round by the Denver Nuggets. Portland had only advanced as far as the WCF under Stotts despite some lofty expectations. The Trail Blazers were rumored to be looking at Jason Kidd to be head coach, a preferred pick of All-Star PG Damian Lillard. It seems Billups and Hammon are top candidates and should be considered the favorites to be offered the job at this point.