The Portland Trail Blazers are expected to move on from head coach Terry Stotts after this season, according to a new report from Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic.
Unless the Blazers pull off a playoff miracle, Portland is expected to opt for a new head coach once the season concludes, per the report.
“If Stotts can’t ‘pull a rabbit out of his hat’ with a playoff miracle of sorts, as one source put it, the Blazers are expected to opt for a new coaching voice,” Charania and Amick reported. “And the Damian Lillard timeline, it seems, is playing a big part here.”
Lillard, 30, is the Blazers cornerstone piece and his loyalty to Portland has been unmatched. The report suggests a new coach would be needed to make the most of the next few seasons of his career. Lillard has three years left on his current deal with the franchise.
If the Blazers move on from Stotts, Charania and Amick report the Blazers are likely to go for a big-name hire to replace him.
Los Angeles Lakers assistant Jason Kidd, Atlanta Hawks interim coach and former Blazers coach Nate McMillan, and Los Angeles Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups are among the potential candidates mentioned for replacing Stotts.
The Blazers currently sit seventh in the Western Conference at 36-29, but few would be surprised if the team elects to move on from Stotts. Outside of a Western Conference finals appearance in 2019, the Blazers have recorded four first-round exits and two in the second round under Stotts during a stretch of seven-straight playoff appearances. Portland may be looking at another first-round exit this season.
The report added: “For the Trail Blazers, several factors — the lack of progress and adjustments over the course of the season, as well as Stotts’ stint with the franchise running its course after nine years — have made clear that the team will likely look for a fresh voice in the offseason.”
— Aron Yohannes