Damian Lillard To Have Major Input In Blazers’ Coaching Search

All-Star guard Damian Lillard will have a major say in who becomes the Trail Blazers’ next head coach, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

The Blazers and Terry Stotts mutually parted ways Friday after nine seasons together. Stotts has been Lillard’s only NBA coach — as Stotts was hired in 2012, the same year in which the Blazers drafted Lillard with the No. 6 overall pick.

Stotts, Lillard and the Blazers have reached the playoffs eight straight seasons, but have lost in the first round in four of the past five. That includes this season, with Portland losing to the Nuggets in six games.

Damian Lillard
USA TODAY Sports

“I mean, we didn’t win a championship, so obviously where we are now isn’t good enough,” Lillard told reporters after Game 6. “I don’t know what a shakeup looks like or what changes will be made or could be made, but obviously as is, it wasn’t good enough.

“We came up short against a team without their starting point guard and shooting guard (Will Barton and Jamal Murray). … Obviously, where we are isn’t good enough to win a championship if it’s not good enough to get out of a first-round series with two of their best three or four players not on the floor.”

Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey has been known to receive input from Lillard in the past, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Lillard has Olshey’s ear now.

Former Blazers assistant and current Timberwolves assistant David Vanterpool is close with Lillard, and Vanterpool could be a name worth watching, as relayed by Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

Lillard publicly backed Vanterpool to become Timberwolves coach when Ryan Saunders was fired during the season.

Lakers assistant Jason Kidd could be a top target for Portland, Haynes reported earlier Friday. Others said to be in the mix, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy, Michigan’s Juwan Howard, Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups and Nets assistant Mike D’Antoni.

Lillard, 30, averaged 28.8 points and 7.5 assists in 67 regular-season games.

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