The Portland Trail Blazers have officially moved on from head coach Terry Stotts. After a successful nine seasons, Portland and Stotts have agreed to part ways mutually as the Blazers fell short in the first round of the playoffs against the Denver Nuggets.
Stotts' departure from Portland doesn't come as a shock. As the playoffs started to approach this year, there were already rumblings of the head coach being on the hot seat as he's failed to coach the Blazers past the second round of the playoffs in all but one season over an eight-year stretch of making the playoffs.
Back in early May, there was already a list of potential candidates to become Stotts' replacement if the Blazers were to move on, and one of them happened to be Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Dave Joerger, according to The Athletic's Sam Amick and Shams Charania.
"Among the potential coaching candidates for the Trail Blazers, sources say: Lakers assistant Jason Kidd, Hawks interim coach Nate McMillan, 76ers assistant Dave Joerger, Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups and Spurs vice president of basketball operations Brent Barry."
Now that the news is official in Portland, and Stotts is on the outs, will the Blazers begin spinning the wheels on looking into possibly hiring one of Doc Rivers' top assistants? Most likely not if Damian Lillard has something to say about it.
One of the keys for the Blazers' head coaching search this offseason will be finding somebody to satisfy their superstar guard, Damian Lillard. As Lillard remains loyal to Portland, he has two preferred replacements for Stotts for the time being, and neither of them is Joerger.
“I like J. Kidd and Chauncey,” Lillard said, according to Shams Charania. Jason Kidd certainly fits the description of a coach who's experienced since he's had head coaching stints with the Brooklyn Nets and the Milwaukee Bucks.
Although Billups would be taking on his first head coaching job with the Blazers, Portland's front office is reportedly "intrigued" with Doc Rivers' former assistant.
While Joerger could certainly remain on the Blazers' radar since he has head coaching experience as well, Lillard's past criticism towards Joerger could be a sign the Blazers star wouldn't welcome the former Sacramento head coach to Portland with open arms. A lot could've changed over time, but the Blazers seem to have their Terry Stotts replacement narrowed down to two candidates already.