In 9 NBA seasons as head coach, the Portland Trail Blazers made 8 playoff appearances, including a trip to the Western Conference Finals in 2019, and they posted 402 total wins since the start of the 2012-13 season, the 9th most wins out of all the teams in the league over this time frame, but Terry Stotts and the Blazers decided to mutually part ways after they lost their first-round playoff series this year to the Denver Nuggets in six games.
Stotts had been a terrific coach over the years for Portland and has been the only head coach that Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum have played for in the NBA, but change is finally coming in Portland to the delight of many of their fans. While they have been successful in the regular season over the years, Trail Blazers’ fans have been wanting a coaching change over the years due to their unsuccessful playoff runs, not counting 2019.
Now, the biggest change coming to Portland in the offseason will be at the head coach position, as they will need to figure this out before the draft and free agency. Portland has been quiet in terms of naming all of the coaches they are considering, but a few names that have been mentioned to NBA Analysis Network include former NBA All-Star and Finals MVP, Chauncey Billups, former Rockets’ head coach and current Nets assistant, Mike D’Antonio, current Michigan head coach, Juwan Howard, and former Trail Blazers assistant, David Vanterpool.
There are plenty of other names that will be in consideration for the Portland head coaching vacancy and Damian Lillard will definitely be involved in the search moving forward. There have been plenty of rumors about Lillard potentially being traded in the offseason, but as of right now, Portland has no intentions of trading their star point guard.
GM Neil Olshey spoke to the media on June 7 and made his intentions to keep their core group together very clear.
With Olshey wanting his entire starting five to return next season, things could become clearer in Portland’s coaching search over the next few weeks. There are multiple guys that would likely do an excellent job given the opportunity to be the head coach of this organization and with Damian Lillard being the star player, I would say that they are in good hands roster wise.
However, there will be more changes coming to this Portland team in the offseason besides just a change at head coach. They were one of the worst defensive teams in the league during the regular season and are not in a great position financially given their lack of playoff success, so Olshey and this entire Blazers’ front-office could be busy in terms of adding and swapping talent in the offseason.