After their fourth first-round playoff exit in the last five seasons, the Portland Trail Blazers parted ways with coach Terry Stotts. While we do not yet know who the Blazers’ next coach will be, what we do know is that it will not be former player Jason Kidd.
On Sunday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report that current Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Jason Kidd would not be vying to become the next head coach of the Trail Blazers.
Lakers assistant Jason Kidd has withdrawn his name from consideration for Portland’s head coaching vacancy, Kidd tells ESPN. “Portland’s a first-class organization and will have great candidates…but I’ve decided not to be one of them.” https://t.co/UQgZ0YNxv5
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 6, 2021
Further reading into the reports suggests that Blazers superstar Damian Lillard might be one of the big reasons why Kidd is withdrawing his name as a potential candidate.
Rumors have suggested that Lillard will be very heavily involved in the Trail Blazers coaching search. It’s a notion that is perhaps necessary for Portland.
Following the Trail Blazers being eliminated from the NBA Playoffs in six games by the Denver Nuggets, Damian Lillard had some things to say on Instagram. The Blazers and their fans had every reason to be concerned.
Not exactly a good look to have the face of your franchise questioning the organization he has dedicated his entire NBA career to.
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With Stotts on the outs, the suggestion that Lillard would have a large-scale say in the team’s coaching hire indicates that Portland isn’t giving up on winning with their current cast.
Well, Lillard wasted little time in publicly endorsing Jason Kidd as his preferred candidate to fill the vacancy.
Damian Lillard's preference for the Blazers next head coach is Jason Kidd, per @ChrisBHaynes
"[He's] the guy I want." pic.twitter.com/ZqUF57aWQF
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 5, 2021
According to Wojnarowski’s report, that public endorsement from Lillard left Kidd feeling uncomfortable about pursuing the role. That awkwardness is the primary motivator behind him withdrawing his name from consideration.
Jason Kidd may still be an NBA head coach as soon as next season, though. He is expected to be among those interviewed for the Boston Celtics coaching vacancy.
Jason Kidd is expected to interview for the Celtics' head coach position, per @ChrisBHaynes
Kidd is also expected to be a "top target" for the Blazers job if Terry Stotts is let go pic.twitter.com/I159jIGknN
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 4, 2021
Even with Kidd’s withdrawal, there are still several notable names on the Blazers’ list. Chauncey Billups, Mike D’Antoni, Jeff Van Gundy and Juwan Howard are some of the biggest candidates.
If the Trail Blazers fail to make a splash with this hire, it very well could lead to Damian Lillard demanding his exit from Portland.