The Trail Blazers will enter the 2021-22 regular season with Chauncey Billups at the front of the bench. Earlier this week, coach Billups discussed his thoughts on his developing relationship with star guard Damian Lillard in a conversation with The Oregonian’s Aaron Fentress.
Before detailing how his experience as a point guard could impact his bond with Lillard, Billups explained that his willingness to accept the Blazers’ job was not contingent on Lillard’s presence. The story from Fentress also mentioned that Billups expects Lillard to suit up in Portland next season.
Billups said taking the Blazers’ job was not contingent on Lillard remaining with the team but he did so fully expecting arguably the greatest player in franchise history being on the roster.
“Of course, Dame adds an unbelievable attraction to this job,” Billups said. “My mindset is that I’m going to do the best job that I can for who we have, and of course I want Dame to be here as bad as anybody. I think you have two kinds of NBA teams: Teams with a real superstar and teams that are looking for one. We have one. That’s a beautiful thing and we’re fortunate to have him.”
Billups explained that his experience in the NBA as a player serves as a foundation for his interactions with Lillard.
“I think that’s one of the reasons why he wanted a former player and a point guard was to have somebody who could maybe understand where he’s … has been in his shoes and can help him advance,” Billups said. “So, that was probably part of the reason why he was on board with me being here.”
Portland’s new coach went on to explain that he is optimistic that his past experience could help Lillard navigate his relationship with the Blazers.
“It’s been a pretty emotional summer,” Billups said. “He’s got a lot of stuff going on. It’s been well documented. I’m just here to support him. I think that’s one of the benefits of having someone who has actually been where you are and also has been where you’re trying to go. So, I can navigate some of those things from a player perspective.”
You can read the complete story from Fentress at The Oregonian.