Damian Lillard's voice in the Trail Blazers' front office has grown louder and louder the deeper gets into a future Hall-of-Fame career. In the immediate aftermath of his best season yet, Lillard is counting on it as Portland officially begins to search for Terry Stotts' replacement.
Lillard told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports on Friday night that he wants Jason Kidd to be the Blazers' next head coach.
"Jason Kidd is the guy I want," he said.
Lillard's statement came approximately two hours after Portland announced the team had agreed to "mutually part ways" with Stotts, on the sidelines in Rip City since 2012-13 – the year Lillard was drafted out of Weber State.
Lillard, 30 years old and still without an NBA Finals appearance, plans to be more vocal with his "requests" to the Blazers' front office moving forward, according to Yahoo. Lillard and Kidd, both natives of point guard hot bed Oakland, reportedly have a "great relationship" dating back years.
Lillard genuinely respects Kidd’s basketball acumen and knowledge of the game and believes he can help take his game and the team to the next level, sources said.
Yahoo also notes that Lillard "intends" to have "significant input" on the Blazers' hiring process.
Kidd, an assistant with the Los Angeles Lakers, has been rumored as a candidate to take the reins with the Blazers since March, when reports about Stotts' likely departure began to surface.
On Friday morning, just after Portland was eliminated from the first round of the playoffs for the fifth time in Stotts' nine seasons, multiple reports emerged about Kidd being the "top target" of the Blazers should they make a coaching change.
Kidd joined the Lakers before last season, drawing widespread praise for his relationships with players and improving strategic acumen under Frank Vogel. His previous coaching experience came in the head chair with the Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets, stints marked most by internal strife and failure to meet expectations.
In January 2001, Kidd was arrested and subsequently pleaded guilty to spousal abuse for hitting his then-wife.
"There's just a bad history here," Joumana Kidd said on a call to law enforcement, per CBS News. "I told him this would be the last time, and he popped me right in the mouth."
Kidd was fined $200 and ordered to take anger management training in exchange for his guilty plea.
Kidd has a 183-190 record in five seasons as a head coach, the latest with Milwaukee in 2018-19 – the season prior to Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks taking off under Mike Budenholzer. A five-time First Team All-NBA honoree during his accomplished playing career, Kidd was inducted into the Hall-of-Fame in 2018.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski also reported on Friday that Chauncey Billups, Jeff Van Gundy, Juwan Howard and Mike D'Antoni are expected to be candidates for the Blazers' vacant coaching job. While Lillard enjoys a "good relationship" with Billups, he prefers Kidd, according to Yahoo.