- May 13, 2021
Source: NBA.com News
Billups would replace Terry Stotts, who had coached the Blazers since 2012 until he and the team parted ways earlier this month.
A former NBA champion and Finals MVP with the Detroit Pistons, Billups would take control of a Portland team headlined by its own superstar point guard in Lillard. The Blazers have made the playoffs in eight straight seasons, but have been eliminated in the first round four out of the last five, including a 4-2 loss to Denver this year.
Portland’s peak with Lillard — a six-time All-NBA honoree — was a 2019 run to the Western Conference finals, where the Blazers were swept by the Golden State Warriors. Stotts had been Lillard’s only NBA head coach since the former sixth overall pick entered the league in 2012.
The Blazers’ reported turn to Billups is a sign of faith in the former five-time All-Star’s leadership that made him immensely respected as a player and an assistant coach this season with the LA Clippers, who have twice rallied from 2-0 series deficits and are attempting to do so again against the Phoenix Suns.
Billups was also one of two coaching candidates Lillard was quoted to have liked, with the other being Jason Kidd per The Athletic. Kidd, however, is reportedly set to be hired by the Dallas Mavericks.
The third overall pick in the 1997 Draft, Billups played 17 seasons in the NBA before working as a studio analyst with ESPN and as an analyst for Clippers games before joining Ty Lue’s coaching staff with the Clippers in November.