Whenever the offseason begins for the L.A. Clippers, they’ll have to fill in a spot on their coaching bench, as Chauncey Billups will be the new head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers, per a release from the team.
Billups has been an assistant coach with the Clippers for one season after spending six years as a broadcaster, including the final season as the dedicated color commentator for the Clippers. He previously expressed interest in management, even receiving an offer for a role in the Cleveland front office, before pivoting to coaching.
Ty Lue has been incredibly complimentary of the work Billups has done in player development, specifically in getting Paul George and Kawhi Leonard to become better playmakers. Billups has developed a strong relationship with George, who has been more of a point guard this season than in the previous 10 of his NBA career.
The situation appeared to be cut and dry in Portland: Damian Lillard listed Billups and Jason Kidd as his two top choices for the job, and Kidd immediately withdrew his name from consideration, leaving Billups as the obvious favorite. Billups also has a longstanding relationship with Neil Olshey, the Blazers general manager, dating back to their time with the Clippers. However, there was public criticism from the Portland fan base about Billups due to allegations of sexual assault in 1997 that were settled in civil court. No criminal charges were filed against Billups.
Nevertheless, the Blazers did their due diligence, per reporting from ESPN, and determined that Billups was the right candidate. They’ve given him a five-year deal with a team option on the final season and from a basketball perspective, it’s easy to understand why Billups was a sought-after candidate.
Billups will be officially introduced as the Portland head coach on Tuesday, which could be the start of the offseason for the Clippers, or at least an off day before Game 6.
More news for Monday:
- Kevin Pelton has really interesting data on how Ty Lue teams are so good at coming back in playoff series.
- Shane Young analyzes the defensive impact of Ivica Zubac in the postseason.
- Andrew Greif has four takeaways from the Game 4 loss.
- Brian Windhorst explains how this year’s Team USA came together, including a detail that indicates Paul George decided not to play.
- John Hollinger calls foul on the NBA’s enforcement of the 10-second free-throw rule with Giannis Antetokounmpo.