Sources: NBA Teams Monitoring Status of Trail Blazers Coach Chauncey Billups

Despite a vote of confidence at the end of the season, Portland has made a series of moves that suggest uncertainty about the head coach’s future with the franchise.
Portland Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups
Portland Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

As coaching vacancies open up across the NBA, teams are monitoring the situation with Chauncey Billups in Portland, league sources told Sports Illustrated

Billups, 47, recently completed his third season as the head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers. He received a vote of confidence from general manager Joe Cronin last month but last week the organization chose not to renew the contracts of two of Billups’s assistants, including Billups’s younger brother, Rodney. With Billups entering the last year of his contract—Portland has a team option for the 2025–26 season—there has been speculation inside rival front offices that Portland and the head coach could part ways. 

If Billups leaves Portland he would immediately emerge as a candidate for other jobs, sources said. 

Despite a poor record in Portland—the Blazers are 81–165 under Billups—the ex-Detroit Pistons star remains well-regarded around the NBA. Currently, three teams—the Los Angeles Lakers, Washington Wizards and Charlotte Hornets—have coaching openings. The Phoenix Suns are reportedly evaluating the future of Frank Vogel and Detroit, where Billups played for parts of eight seasons, recently announced plans to hire a new president of basketball operations. 

In 2021, Billups was hired by the Blazers with the hope that he could elevate a perennial playoff team into a title contender. Injuries marred Billups’s first two seasons and last summer, Portland traded Damian Lillard, ending the star point guard’s 11-year run with the franchise and beginning what was expected to be a lengthy rebuild. 

At the Blazers’ season-ending media availability Cronin praised Billups’s performance. He called Billups “an incredible leader” and “an incredible teacher” for Portland’s young roster. But while Billups told reporters he was focused on winning next season, Cronin shifted the focus to developing Portland’s young core, headlined by Anfernee Simons and Scoot Henderson. The Blazers, who finished tied for the NBA’s third worst record, will add another high lottery pick to the roster next year. 

Publicly, Billups said he would embrace the challenge of coaching in the last year of his contract. 

“That's a decision that I don’t make,” Billups said. “I just try to do the best job that I can, and if they see that there’s a value there to do [an extension], that’s on them. But I’m committed to doing the best job.”

Chris Mannix


Senior Writer, Sports Illustrated Sports Illustrated senior writer Chris Mannix has boxed with Juan Manuel Marquez, played guard in the NBA's D-League and even tried his hand at bull riding at the Sankey Rodeo School in Martin, Tenn. The latter assignment left him with a bunch of bruises and a fractured collarbone. "I liked all the first-person experiences, but fighting Juan was my favorite assignment for SI," says Mannix. "It was a tremendous experience that required brutal training and introduced me to a fear I never knew I had." Mannix has covered the NBA since he arrived at SI in 2003. He currently writes columns and profiles in the magazine and for and also serves as SI's NBA draft expert. Among the NBA stars he has profiled: Chris Bosh, Russell Westbrook and Andrei Kirilenko. As a teenager Mannix was a locker room attendant with the Boston Celtics for eight seasons (1995-2003) and covered high school sports for the Boston Globe. "Working for the Celtics was like attending a different fantasy camp every game. I spent pregames D'ing up the likes of Tracy McGrady, Ray Allen and yes, Michael Jordan. Last time I went one-on-one with MJ he beat me 48-0. I got one shot off … and it was blocked." Boxing is also one of Mannix's specialties. He has reported for SI on several championship fights, annually hands out's boxing awards and writes the website's "Inside Boxing" column. Mannix won the 2012 Boxing Writers Association of America's awards for Best Feature over 1,750 words and Best Feature under 1,750 words. In addition to his duties at SI, Mannix serves as host of The Chris Mannix Show on NBC Sports Radio (Sundays 6–9 p.m. ET) and is a co-host of Voices of the Game, with Newy Scruggs every Wednesday from Noon–3 p.m. ET. In addition, Mannix is a ringside reporter for Epix and Fight Night on NBC and NBC Sports Network, and is a regular guest and fill-in host on The Dan Patrick Show and The Crossover on NBC Sports Network. He also regularly appears on sports radio shows across the country, including weekly appearances in Miami, Orlando and Salt Lake City.  Mannix received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Boston College in 2003 and graduated from Boston College High School in 1998 (which makes him a double Eagle). He resides in New York City.