The Portland Trail Blazers and head coach Terry Stotts have mutually agreed to part ways, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported late Friday night. The Blazers are just a day removed from exiting the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs, losing in six games to the Denver Nuggets. There had been rumors earlier in the day that if Stotts was let go, then Jason Kidd could emerge as a top candidate to replace him.
Woj has a full list of candidates already that includes a handful of notable names. Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups, broadcaster and former Knicks head coach Jeff Van Gundy, Nets assistant Mike D’Antoni and Michigan head coach Juwan Howard are on the short list along with Kidd to replace Stotts. Yahoo Sports Chris Haynes is now reporting that Damian Lillard will have major input in who is brought in to replace Stotts. This would suggest that there’s no way the Blazers consider trading the All-Star point guard this offseason.
Update: Haynes is reporting that Dame prefers the Blazers hire Kidd (who knows why). Kidd coached the Nets for one season in Brooklyn before a very forgettable stint with the Bucks from 2014-18, when Giannis was just entering his prime.
Stotts is a great coach and really got a raw deal in Portland. The Blazers were almost always competitive but unfortunately always played in a League with Stephen Curry and the Warriors or LeBron James and the Lakers. Stotts finishes his career in Portland with a 402-318 record in the regular season over 9 campaigns. The results were not exactly there in the postseason with a 22-40 record.
Not that I’m bias or anything, but Billups feels like a great fit in Portland for his first gig as a head coach. We’ve seen plenty of former championship/HOF guards make the jump to coaching and have success (Steve Kerr, Steve Nash). Billups and Dame feel like a good fit from a respect standpoint. You could say the same about someone like Howard or Kidd (even though Jason Kidd is the worst).