Sources said that D’Antoni has a “serious” interest in coaching the Blazers but it is unsure if the feeling is mutual. However, the team appears to be intrigued by the 70-year old who has a 1,127-game NBA coaching experience.
But while Portland will be interviewing the three this week, that doesn’t mean that the team won’t look elsewhere. Blazers head of basketball operations Neil Olshey has previously indicated that the search will be extensive, possibly with 20-25 candidates receiving consideration.
8th Multiple-Time Coach of the Year Winner
D’Antoni is regarded as one of the most successful and innovative coaches of his generation. Prior to joining Steve Nash’s coaching staff in Brooklyn this season, he spent four years coaching the Houston Rockets before choosing to walk away without a contract extension after the 2019-20 season.
Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni wins Coach of the Year
D’Antoni was previously Coach of the Year in 2004-05 with Suns
He led the Rockets to a 217-101 record in four seasons as the head coach. D’Antoni’s .682 winning percentage during those four years was the highest in the Western Conference during that span, and second overall in the entire league over the same period, behind only the Toronto Raptors’ .695.
With D’Antoni at the helm, the Rockets won three division titles and made the playoffs in all four seasons. They made three Conference Semifinals appearances and one Conference Finals trip in 2017-18.
The Rockets were one win away from eliminating the Golden State Warriors that season but Chris Paul suffered an injury and the Dubs went on to win Games 6 and 7 to clinch the series.
First Woman to Act as Head Coach in an NBA Regular Season Game
Hammon meanwhile, broke the gender barrier for NBA coaching. After she was hired as an assistant by Gregg Popovich in 2014, she became the first female full-time assistant coach in any of the four major professional sports leagues in North America.
In 2015, she became the first woman to act as head coach for an NBA team during the Summer League, and last December, she became the first female to act as head coach during a regular season NBA game after Popovich was ejected. Hammon is looking more like she’ll soon become the first female full-time head coach in history.
On the other hand, Billups is the former 17-year NBA veteran who was the captain of the 2004 NBA champion Detroit Pistons team. Known as Mr. Big Shot for his knack to hit the big baskets for his team, Billups’ championship experience and leadership skills have made him a favorite to land a head coaching position in the NBA.
He is currently an assistant coach for the L.A. Clippers under Tyronn Lue but was among the finalists considered before Lue was hired. Billups is the betting favorite to land the Blazers’ head coaching job at +200 via BetOnline. He also received a public endorsement from star point guard Damian Lillard who is expected to have a say in the decision-making.
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