The Portland Trail Blazers have officially hired Chauncey Billups as their next head coach. Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweeted the news just minutes ago. The deal is reportedly for four years with a team option in the fifth year. Financial terms are as yet undisclosed.
Yahoo Sources: Portland Trail Blazers reach agreement with Chauncey Billups on a four-and-one deal to be the franchise’s next head coach. Four years guaranteed and a team option on the fifth year.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) June 28, 2021
Billups has served as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Clippers since November of 2020. He played 17 seasons in the NBA between 1997 and 2014, including tours with the Detroit Pistons, Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers, Toronto Raptors, and New York Knicks. He was a five-time NBA All-Star between 2005 and 2010.
Billups’ hiring has been anticipated for days, but has also been accompanied by criticism from the Trail Blazers fan base because of a civil lawsuit settled in 2000 regarding an incident of alleged sexual assault when he was a member of the Celtics in 1997, his rookie season.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN followed up on the breaking news with an article sharing the perspective of Trail Blazers President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey.
Olshey has long considered Billups one of the best leaders he had ever encountered in the NBA, and that relationship — along with Lillard’s public endorsement — played a part in Billups choosing the Portland job over other opportunities, sources said.
The Blazers are expected to introduce Billups in a press conference scheduled for this coming Tuesday.
Here is the official press release from the Blazers:
TRAIL BLAZERS NAME CHAUNCEY BILLUPS HEAD COACH
Former NBA Champion and five-time All-Star becomes 15th head coach in franchise history
PORTLAND, Ore. (June 27, 2021) – The Portland Trail Blazers have named Chauncey Billups as the team’s head coach, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey. Billups becomes the 15th head coach to lead the Trail Blazers.
“Chauncey is a proven leader with an elite basketball IQ that has won everywhere he has been,” said Olshey. “He is prepared for the challenge of developing the Championship habits and strategic approach we need to achieve the expectations and goals for our franchise.”
The Trail Blazers conducted a thorough and equitable search and Billups is the right choice to lead the organization to the playoffs and beyond.
Billups joins the Trail Blazers after spending the 2020-21 season as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Clippers. As a part of head coach Tyronn Lue’s staff, Billups helped coach the Clippers to a regular season record of 47-25 (.653) and a playoff run that currently has the Clippers in the Western Conference Finals. Billups is a proven leader, a mentor with the ability to grow and develop players and has a knowledge of the game that is unparalleled.
“I’m very excited and humbled to be the next coach of the Trail Blazers,” said Billups. “Portland is a special place and a unique franchise. As a player I always loved playing here because the passion and knowledge of the fans brought out the very best in me as a competitor. Now I’m looking forward to being on the other side of that energy and engaging with the Portland community on a whole other level.”
“I want to thank Jody Allen, Bert Kolde and Neil Olshey for their trust and for giving me this incredible opportunity,” continued Billups. “And, most importantly, I want to say to the fans that I know what this team means to you, and I promise to pour every ounce into continuing to make you proud of what the Trail Blazers stand for.”
Billups, 44, played 17 seasons in the NBA for Boston, Toronto, Denver, Minnesota, Detroit, New York and the Clippers. In 2004 he was named the NBA Finals MVP after leading Detroit to an NBA Championship. A five-time All-Star, Billups was named All-NBA Second Team in 2006 and All-NBA Third Team in 2007 and 2009. He also received NBA All-Defensive Second Team honors in 2005 and 2006. In addition to his playing accolades, Billups was awarded the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 2008, the NBA Sportsmanship Award in 2009, and the inaugural Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award in 2013. Billups’ No. 1 jersey was retired by the Pistons in 2016. For his career, Billups averaged 15.2 points, 2.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 1,043 games.
“Chauncey is a proven and consistent winner with NBA championship experience as an All-NBA player,” said Jody Allen, Portland Trail Blazers Chair. “He has demonstrated throughout his career, first as a player, and currently as an Assistant Coach a unique ability to lead. We are very happy to welcome him to Portland.”
Billups has demonstrated both his commitment to mentorship on and off the court though his work with at-risk youth and his dedication to helping prevent homelessness.
After retiring as a player following the 2013-14 season, Billups worked as a studio analyst and game analyst for ESPN. During the 2019-20 season, Billups served as the game analyst for Los Angeles Clippers broadcasts on FOX Sports Prime Ticket.
A Denver native, Billups attended the University of Colorado (1995-97) where he was a consensus second-team All-American in his second season. He and his wife Piper have three daughters.