Allen wanted the list to include women candidates, and San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon will interview for the job, according to a person with knowledge of the situation who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about candidates. The Blazers also received permission to speak with South Carolina women’s coach Dawn Staley.
But as this process begins, and with so many believing the quality of this hire will impact the organization’s future with franchise centerpiece Damian Lillard, there’s a counter-intuitive name to add to the conversation whose coaching profile likely eclipses any of the forthcoming candidates: Brooklyn assistant coach Mike D’Antoni. A source with knowledge of D’Antoni’s situation said he has serious interest in the Portland position, though it remains to be seen if it will be reciprocated.
Olshey is widely known to be very interested in Chauncey Billups, the five-time All-Star, championship point guard and former Finals MVP who is currently serving as a Clippers assistant coach under Ty Lue. But if prior head coaching experience becomes a priority in the process, no one can compare to D’Antoni on that front. The 70-year-old who has long been known as a point guard whisperer is 20th all time in wins (672) and has a .560 winning percentage in the regular season.
Marc Stein: The murmurs have already started In coaching circles that 10 consecutive playoffs defeats will cost Terry Stotts his job in Portland, but league sources say Orlando would register immediate interest in Stotts if he becomes available
Ben Golliver: Terry Stotts, swept out as three seed, on what Portland needs to do to join the NBA's elite: "A little early right now to say what direction we're going to go... Neil [Olshey] is really good. We've been in the playoffs 5 straight years."
August 1, 2021 | 1:11 am EDT Update
Mark Schanowski: Watching NBA TV’s free agency special. Well respected @ChrisBHaynes reports unless there’s a major “hiccup”, sources tell him Lonzo Ball intends to work out a contract with the Bulls. Pelicans are going hard after free agent PG Kyle Lowry.
On a recent edition of the “Smartless,” podcast, James’ legendary father said he hopes to retire as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. “I truly hope that I can finish my career with the Lakers,” James said on the podcast, according to CBS Sports. “However many years that is, if it’s four, five, six, whatever, seven. I hope I can continue to play the game. I love being in L.A., my family loves being in L.A. Being with a historical franchise like the Lakers is something … It’s like me being in ‘Space Jam’ — I never thought it would be possible. You think about Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar), and Magic (Johnson), and Wilt (Chamberlin), and Jerry West and Elgin Baylor, Kobe (Bryant), (Shaquille O’Neal) and all of them. The whole list goes on.”
“I have never said that. I laughed when I saw it cuz I’ve literally never said that. I’ve been seeing a lot of things being said. I’ve been as open about the situation as I could possibly be.” Damian Lillard on rumors that he’d give up money to be traded.
Abbott went through the details of the two’s public sparring on Twitter and the backlash he received before getting into the conversation with Lillard: “I published it and tweeted it, and then he like, retweeted it with the facepalm emoji, and then he talked to reporters and said that none of it was true. And then, I tweeted … after like a day of epic meltdown, everything in my mentions was a nightmare of people saying I’m a liar and making up stories, I’m bad at my job. And some of that just comes with the business. This was like a lot. I’ve been doing this for a long time. This was a lot. So, then I basically write what you just said Jarod. And then, Damian immediately replied to that saying he doesn’t lie. Then, he started direct messaging me and he’s in Tokyo at the Olympics, so we’re direct messaging, just like hammering away, trying to straighten it out. Then my phone rings and it’s Aaron Goodwin, who is Damian Lillard’s agent. I think I’ve known Aaron Goodwin longer than Damian has. Like, Aaron and I go way back. We’ve been through a lot of stuff, and I hold him in tremendously-high regards in a lot of ways.”
Abbott said that he wouldn’t be transparent about everything he and Lillard discussed when he requested to speak with him. But, he did share a story of Lillard’s positive vibe, even in the middle of the discussion. “Most of what happened on the phone call I’m just not going to share. It’s private. It was Dame and I getting to know each other? Actually at one point, I will tell you this funny part. I’m like, you know, ‘This thing happened, this thing happened, Twitter’s like a warzone for me now, and it’s my birthday. And Aaron starts talking, everyone starts talking, and Dame’s just like, ‘Henry, Henry, Henry, happy birthday, man.’ I’m like ‘Thank you, Dame.’”
Outside of those anecdotes, Abbott said that he called the “Dream Team” of people who would know Lillard’s leverage and control, continually insisting that neither party lied. He noted that there’s only one way out of Portland in Lillard’s case, and it would be similar to James Harden, skipping training camp, having the front office question if he’s going to give 100 percent, etc. The link to the rest of the podcast, for those interested, can be found above.
Tim Reynolds: It’s now Sunday in the US, meaning free agency starts tomorrow there, so it’s probably time to say this: Per source, when it comes to Kyle Lowry, the Miami Heat “have his attention and have had it for a while.” Buckle up, kids.
Would DeRozan realistically consider a pay cut that steep this late in his career? Constructing a sign-and-trade is another avenue but also difficult. I’d be curious to see whether the Clippers would consider placing themselves under a hard cap that would be triggered by a sign-and-trade. BT: The Lakers need shooting. One name that is coming up is Patty Mills. He can shoot the lights out and would be great off the bench. Wayne Ellington is another shooter who has interest in rejoining the Lakers. Trevor Ariza and Andre Iguodala are veteran wings who are candidates.