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Blazers, Olshey Introduce New Head Coach Chauncey Billups

The media assembled at the Trail Blazers’ facility for Head Coach Chauncey Billups’ introduction.

Joe Dumars Introduces Chauncey Billips Photo by Allen Einstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Chauncey Billups will be introduced as the new Head Coach of the Portland Trail Blazers in a press conference today at noon, Pacific time. President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey will welcome Billups to the franchise in Portland’s first in-person press conference since the spring of 2020.

Billups will become the 15th head coach in franchise history. His hiring has been accompanied by controversy due to backlash from a settlement in a civil suit against him for sexual assault in the year 2000.

We will bring you updates from the press conference as it unfolds.

Portland Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey opened the press conference confirming that the extensive search ranged through over 20 different head coaching candidates, but cited Billups’ competitive fire and “natural gravitas leadership” as preeminent reasons for his hire. Olshey noted that even after the background check, the Blazers organization conducted their own investigation on the matter.

Billups himself then went into the specifics of that incident in 1997 and some of the residual effects that it has had on his everyday life.

San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon was among those snubbed through the hiring of Chauncey Billups. Olshey took a brief moment to praise her for making it as deeply into the process that she did, calling it an endorsement.

Olshey was transparent in his attempts to be private about the Billups hire. He recounts that out of respect for the Los Angeles Clippers — Billups’ current employer — he didn’t intend for news to leak as it did.

The conference pivoted over to more of the on-court aspects and how Billups can take this Blazers group to the next level. He made mention of the defense as the “first jump” the team needed to make, and some of the ways they could go about that (more physicality, communication, etc). In between that, Sean Highkin of Bleacher Report inquired for more information on Olshey and the Blazers’ investigation, but Olshey doubled down on what he previously stated.

As the conversation returned to on-court play, Billups also endorsed the utilizing of Portland’s secondary scorers. He said that views Jusuf Nurkic is someone who can do more than he’s done previously.

The relationship between the Portland Trail Blazers and All-NBA guard Damian Lillard has been called into question in recent days. Olshey defined on his role in keeping his star player content, as well as what the dynamic between the two of them are at this point.

Olshey said that Lillard “expressed to stakeholders” that he wants to retire as a Portland Trail Blazer.

The conversation again returned to Billups’ past incident in 1997 through a follow-up question from Jason Quick of The Athletic. He asked if the allegations “shaped” him as a person, but was succinctly shot down by the PR.

Olshey also described what went into the thinking behind giving Chauncey Billups a five-year contract. He noted that boiled down to trust and belief in Billups’ vision.

Billups’ history as a former NBA player is something that could play a factor in his coaching style, and he illustrated how he hoped to preach accountability to his players. He went into detail on that mindset during the final question of the presser.