The Trail Blazers are closing in on an agreement to hire Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups as their next head coach, per Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic.
Earlier, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Billups had emerged as frontrunner for the Portland vacancy.
Billups, 44, is in his first season under Tyronn Lue in LA, and his first season as a coach in any capacity. Billups reportedly interviewed for each the Blazers and Celtics openings twice. The Celtics eventually hired Nets assistant Ime Udoka.
Billups was also mentioned by Blazers star guard Damian Lillard as someone Lillard would like to see as a potential candidate. While general manager Neil Olshey is making the final decision on the new coach, he is believed to be consulting with Lillard and perhaps other members of the team.
In an interview with TMZ, 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.
The Blazers are looking to replace Terry Stotts, who mutually parted ways after nine seasons. Stotts led Portland to eight straight playoff appearances.
”We’re running a very expansive, diverse search,” Olshey said. We’ll probably have anywhere from 20 to 25 candidates in there with biographical data, background, intel, impact studies, coaching records, playing records, etc., so that we all are speaking the same language as we vet these candidates.”
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