Trail Blazers News: Portland Firing 2 Top Assistant Coaches

Trail Blazers News: Portland Firing 2 Top Assistant Coaches

The Portland Trail Blazers may be retaining head coach Chauncey Billups for a fourth season in 2024-25, but the club will be missing two of his top assistants, reports Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian.

A league source has informed Fentress that lead assistant coach Scott Brooks and Chauncey Billups’ brother, Rodney, will not see their contracts renewed next season. Another assistant coach, Steve Hetzel, previously departed last month (after the season ended, of course) to serve under new Brooklyn Nets head coach Jordi Fernández.

Rodney had prioritized development and defense among players. After briefly playing professionally overseas, the younger Billups has been coaching since 2012, when he served as an assistant coach at Colorado. He was the head coach at Denver from 2016-21.

The Brooks move is a bit of a surprise. Following a 10-year NBA playing career (plus a few international seasons), the former journeyman point guard (who won a title with the Houston Rockets as a reserve in 1994), Brooks coached in the American Basketball Association for a few years, before assistant gigs with the Denver Nuggets, Sacramento Kings, and Seattle SuperSonics/Oklahoma City Thunder.

He eventually assumed head coach duties after P.J. Carlesimo was dismissed early into Oklahoma City’s 2008-09 season. Brooks led that Thunder club to one Finals appearance, in 2012, before being dcaned in 2015. He was the head coach of a few frisky John Wall-Bradley Beal Washington Wizards squads before moving on in 2021. Brooks boasts a 935-521 overall head coaching record.

Per Fentress, Portland plans to replace all three coaches on Billups’ bench.

Billups has led the program to three consecutive lottery-bound seasons. All told, Billups and his staff boast an 81-165 record across their three years in power. In only one of those seasons, 2023-24, was Portland’s roster specifically designed to tank, but in fairness, that is more of an indictment on former team president Neil Olshey (who was fired during 2021-22) and current one Joe Cronin than it should be on Billups and co.

It will be fascinating to see how Portland decides to manuever going forward, with regards to fleshing out its bench.

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