After mutually parting ways with Terry Stotts, the head coach for a decade, following a first-round loss to Denver, the Trail Blazers figure to let their star player Damian Lillard take a leading role in finding a replacement, and on Friday night he vocalized his preference to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, telling Haynes, “Jason Kidd is the guy I want.”
Haynes had previously reported Lillard would have “major input” on the decision, and now Lillard is upping the ante by going public with his preference. The two have a mutual hometown in Oakland and have had a relationship for years, per Haynes.
In a separate interview with Jason Quick of The Athletic, Lillard said “I like J. Kidd and Chauncey,” referring to Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups.
After four years in Milwaukee, Kidd has been on Frank Vogel’s staff in Los Angeles over the past two seasons. He has a 183-190 career record as a head coach, having never posted more than 42 wins in Milwaukee.
With all the success Portland has had during Lillard’s career and the roster-building limitations in place for the Trail Blazers, it’s unclear how much a coaching change will truly alter much for this team, yet finding someone who Lillard gets along with could certainly help. Portland also has considerable young talent to develop, including the oft-injured Zach Collins as well as Anfernee Simons and Nassir Little.
It doesn’t appear Lillard is unhappy in Portland, but he is clearly taking a more aggressive leading role this offseason right from the jump, starting with this head coaching search.