PORTLAND, Pray. – The Portland Trail Blazers compile a list of possible candidates to replace coach Terry Stotts and general manager Neil Olshey said he hopes to start a first round of virtual interviews this week.
Rumors about possible candidates began after Stotts’ firing last Friday, a day after the Blazers were eliminated by the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the Playoffs, but Olshey said the team is still preparing the list it will give to the owner of the team, Jody Allen.
“We are doing an expansive and diverse search. We will probably have between 20 and 25 candidates with biographical data, experience, impact studies, records as a coach, as a player, etc., so that we all speak the same language while we research these candidates, “said Olshey. “I have not contacted any team or agents to ask permission for formal interviews until we have a chance to review all of this material.”
Los Angeles Lakers assistant Jason Kidd withdrew his name from consideration during an interview with ESPN after it was reported that Damian Lillard had suggested him for the job. The names of other possible candidates were also dropped over the weekend.
Stotts coached the Blazers for nine seasons and led them to the playoffs in the past eight, but Portland hasn’t advanced beyond the first round in four of the past five years.
The 65-year-old Stotts was the coach with the fourth longest tenure with a team in the NBA, behind Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs, Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat and Rick Carlisle of the Dallas Mavericks. He finished 402-318 in nine regular schedules at Portland with eight Playoff qualifications and led the Blazers to the 2019 Western Conference finals, with Portland being swept by the Golden State Warriors.
On Saturday, Stotts wrote a letter to fans thanking them for their stay in Portland.
“Coaching the Tail Blazers was a life changing experience. There are many memories that my wife, Jan, and I will always cherish, memories that involve wonderful people and lasting friendships, ”said Stotts.
The new coach will be drawn in by the opportunity to work with one of the league’s most dynamic scorers in Lillard, who will have a say in the decision, Olshey said.
Lillard sparked speculation about his own future in Portland after the elimination against the Nuggets, after posting a photo of him wearing street clothes at the Moda Center.
“How much longer should I stay dedicated? How long until opportunity meets readiness? ”He wrote.
Lillard averaged 34.3 points and 10.2 assists in the Playoffs, after averaging 28.8 points and 7.5 assists during the regular season.
With six trips to the All-Star Game, Lillard finished his ninth NBA season and the closest he’s ever come to a title was that quick trip to the 2019 Western Finals.