Chauncey Billups is getting his first opportunity as a head coach with the Trail Blazers, and he says he’s ready for the challenge.
“I’m very excited and humbled to be the next coach of the Trail Blazers,” Billups said in a prepared statement. “Portland is a special place and a unique franchise. As a player I always loved playing here because the passion and knowledge of the fans brought out the very best in me as a competitor.
“Now I’m looking forward to being on the other side of that energy and engaging with the Portland community on a whole other level.”
“Chauncey is a proven leader with an elite basketball IQ that has won everywhere he has been,” Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey said. “He is prepared for the challenge of developing the championship habits and strategic approach we need to achieve the expectations and goals for our franchise.”
Billups, 44, is in his first season as an assistant coach at any level with Tyronn Lue and the Clippers.
In an interview with TMZ last month, former Pistons guard Richard Hamilton indicated Billups was hopeful of landing the Blazers job.
“Chauncey wants to coach right now,” Hamilton said. “Hopefully, he gets his opportunity.”
Hamilton and Billups won a championship as Detroit’s starting backcourt in 2004. The Pistons of that era made six straight trips to the Eastern Conference finals overall.
He spent 17 seasons in the NBA starting with the Celtics, who selected him with the No. 3 overall draft pick in 1997. He also played for the Raptors, Nuggets, Timberwolves, Knicks and Clippers.
“Chauncey is a proven and consistent winner with NBA championship experience as an All-NBA player,” said Allen in a prepared statement. “He has demonstrated throughout his career, first as a player, and currently as an assistant coach a unique ability to lead. We are very happy to welcome him to Portland.”
An introductory press conference is scheduled for Tuesday.
The Blazers are replacing Terry Stotts, who mutually parted ways after nine seasons. Stotts led Portland to eight straight playoff appearances.