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Early reports about Damian Lillard's initial preferences to replace Terry Stotts made one thing abundantly clear. Even if the Trail Blazers didn't choose Jason Kidd or Chauncey Billups, Lillard wanted to play under a new head coach—just the second of his career—whose own playing perspective could help him grow as a star point guard and locker-room leader.

Billups, of course, played in five All-Star Games during his 17-year career, establishing himself as one of the best two-way floor generals of the 2000s. His crowning achievement came in 2004, when Billups led the Detroit Pistons to the Larry O'Brien Trophy en route to winning Finals MVP—an experience he plans to draw on in 2021-22 while navigating the choppy waters of Lillard's frustration.

"One thing I love about him is that he actually wants to win,” Billups said of Lillard, per Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian. “He’s experienced every other thing that you can besides actually winning. He’s been in the MVP race. He’s an All-Star. He’s All-NBA. He’s done all of those things. He is an Olympian now. I actually think him winning in the Olympics actually fuels his fire more to win.

“So, I understand, as a guy that’s been a player and won it before, I know how beautiful that is and how good that feels. So, that’s all he really wants is to have that opportunity to win. But that’s what we all want.”

Lillard has all but committed to Portland for next season despite the front office's inability or unwillingness to meet his demand of upgrades to the roster. At this point, it'd be shocking if he tried to force his way from the Blazers before next summer.

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But all bets are off after that, especially if a coaching change—as a prescient Lillard seemed to warn immediately after the Blazers were eliminated from the playoffs—isn't enough to vault Portland to legitimate championship contention.

For his part, Billups told The Oregonian he isn't sweating the uncertain nature of Lillard's status. Lauded across the league for decades for his ability to relate to players, Billups is confident Lillard can handle the situation himself.

When the time comes for it, though, Billups will be ready to provide Lillard with just the mindset and viewpoint the latter always wanted from his second head coach.

"I’m just here to support him," Billups said of Lillard." 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.

"But I’m not going to be on top of him," he continued. "He’s his own man. He’s a family man. He’s a pro. He has this thing kind of figured out. So, I’m not going to stand in the way of any of that stuff. Dame has to make his own decisions, but I’m here to help him whenever he is ready to make them.”

[Aaron Fentress, The Oregonian]

READ MORE: A Coaching Change Isn't Nearly Enough For Trail Blazers