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."
June 22, 2021 | 6:30 pm EDT Update
Shams Charania: Nets free agent Spencer Dinwiddie has been fully cleared for all basketball activities, his operating surgeon Dr. Riley Williams says. Dinwiddie recovered from a partial ACL tear in just over five months. He enters free agency as one of the top point guards on the market.
Duane Rankin: After talking with those in the know, don’t rule out Deandre Ayton playing for USA in a future Olympics.. They know he’s from Bahamas, too. There are rules, but there are exceptions too. I’m going to leave it at that for now and get ready for Game 2. Look to have more later.
Chris Kirschner: For tomorrow’s game at Milwaukee: Kevin Huerter (left ankle soreness) is probable. Bogdan Bogdanovic (right knee soreness) is questionable. Cam Reddish (right Achilles soreness) is questionable. Brandon Goodwin (minor respiratory condition) is out. De’Andre Hunter is out.
In Portland, there is a growing belief that Jody Allen, the team’s owner, has a strong interest in Becky Hammon, who has been an assistant coach in San Antonio for seven seasons in her quest to become the first woman to serve as a head coach in any of North America’s four major men’s team sports. Neil Olshey, Portland’s general manager, continues to be relentlessly linked to Chauncey Billups.
Orlando management is said to prefer hiring a candidate with previous head-coaching experience, even with a roster full of younger players who will need time to develop. The Los Angeles Lakers’ Jason Kidd and Kenny Atkinson, who coached the Nets before becoming an assistant with the Clippers, are two names that keep coming up.
June 22, 2021 | 6:02 pm EDT Update
The Mavericks are not pursuing established executives like Toronto’s Masai Ujiri or Danny Ainge, the former Boston president of basketball operations, to replace Nelson, according to a person with knowledge of the team’s intentions. Those executives would surely want more autonomy that Cuban is willing to cede.