The Portland Trail Blazers were the first team eliminated from the NBA playoffs on Saturday, getting swept by Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans in a stunning Game 4 triumph in NOLA. It might also be the last time Terry Stotts is on the bench for the Blazers.
The Blazers had another impressive regular season, hitting 49 wins and finding themselves in the three seed in the Western Conference. But they struggled down the stretch of the regular season and found themselves against a red hot Pelicans team in the first round.
At times, the duo of CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard looked overwhelmed by Davis and Jrue Holiday. It’s yet another playoff disappointment for Lillard, a franchise player who once again committed to Portland and team ownership earlier in the season. That’s why speculation started after the final horn on Saturday that the Blazers might look to move on from Stotts in an effort to shake things up with a perennial contender that hasn’t found a breakthrough in the postseason.
As Stein notes, Stotts would be an attrative coach for at least one team looking for its next head coach. The Blazers have made the playoffs each of the last five seasons, and he’s amassed a record of 272-220 in the last six years.
But sometimes teams need to shake it up to get to the next level. As their core gets another year older and the competition out West continues to improve, it might be best for both sides to move on.