A day after the Portland Trail Blazers were knocked out of the first round of the playoffs by the Denver Nuggets, the team and Terry Stotts “parted ways” after nine seasons that peaked with an appearance in the Western Conference Finals in 2019.
Almost immediately, the list of coaching candidates the Blazers would consider got reported and superstar guard Damian Lillard made his preferences known, saying former Nets and Bucks coach and current Lakers assistant Jason Kidd was who he wanted to be the next head coach in Portland, with Chauncey Billups also high on his list. From there, the expectation was that one of those two would get the job, but on Sunday Jason Kidd quickly removed his name from consideration, saying this to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
“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 told ESPN. “Whoever they choose will have big shoes to fill from Terry (Stotts).”
Per Woj, it was Lillard’s public support of Kidd that led him to withdraw his name from consideration, saying it left Kidd feeling “awkward” about the situation. As for where the Blazers will go now in their coaching search, Woj says Billups is high on the list as well as Jeff Van Gundy, Mike D’Antoni, Juwan Howard, and others. One name that has been somewhat surprisingly omitted from the reported candidates list is David Vanterpool, the former Blazers assistant and Wolves assistant who got public support from Lillard and CJ McCollum after he was passed over in Minnesota’s search.
As for Kidd, it’s unknown exactly how high on the list he was for the Blazers front office to begin with, but for someone who has been seeking another head coaching opportunity it is a bit odd for him to walk away from the possibility of a good job like Portland. One has to wonder if he believes a different job is going to open — possibly with the team he’s already on in L.A. — that would put him even closer to being the head coach of a championship caliber team.