Five NBA teams changed head coaches last summer (six if you count Minnesota removing the interim tag from Ryan Saunders), and there is going to be even more movement on that front this offseason.
Two teams have already hired new coaches (New York and Brooklyn), six positions are currently open, and a couple of other teams (Houston and Milwaukee) could be looking to make changes.
That makes it a good environment to be a promising head coaching candidate, and that’s what current Clippers broadcaster Chauncey Billups is pitching himself as. Billups hasn’t done any coaching since retiring from his 17-year playing career in 2014, but he has an intriguing resume for a first-time head coach.
First of all, Billups was a championship-winning point guard — and the 2004 Finals MVP — who was well-respected among his peers. From Detroit onwards, every team Billups was on lauded his praises as a veteran leader, including the Nuggets and the Clippers. Point guard is the position that most often leads to a coaching career, so Billups is on the right track.
Mr. Big Shot has also been involved in the game continuously since his playing days as a studio analyst and this season as a broadcaster for the Clippers. Billups previously entertained working in a front office, and he reportedly turned down roles with the Cavaliers and the Hawks in 2017, so he’s been in demand, even if not for a coaching position.
Now, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports that Billups is in the mix to be the Indiana Pacers head coach. As Wojnarowski notes, the Pacers have no problem hiring first-time coaches, and Billups has a good relationship with Indiana guards Victor Oladipo and Malcolm Brogdon.
Wojnarowski also indicates that the Pacers job would be a good opportunity for Billups because it is one organization that is not considering Tyronn Lue for its opening. The Athletic previously reported that Lue would bring on Billups as an assistant if he landed a head coaching job this offseason, but Billups appears to have his eyes on a bigger prize.
That brings us to an interesting question: Who is more likely to be named a head coach before the 2020-21 season, Lue or Billups? Or could it even be a wild card like Sam Cassell, whose name hasn’t popped up in discussions yet but who is in his 11th season as an assistant coach? Let us know what you think.
Which Clippers staffer will become a head coach first?
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More news for Thursday:
- If a team does hire Lue, they’ll be bringing in a wardrobe savant. Per Max Reza, the Clippers’ Director of Team Operations, Lue chose the salmon polo shirts.
- Michael Porter Jr. wasn’t too happy after the Nuggets’ latest loss.
- The 2020 NBA Draft has reportedly been moved back to November 18. The Clippers sent their first-round pick to New York in the Marcus Morris Sr. trade, but they still own their second-round pick, no. 57 overall.
- It seems like the referees are blowing the whistle with excessive frequency in the bubble, but Tom Haberstroh points out one call they aren’t making.
- The NBA bubble concept is working for other types of businesses.
- Aishwarya Kumar found out what it was like competing against some of the USA’s biggest sports stars when they were still young.