- The Portland Trail Blazers are expected to fire head coach Terry Stotts after the current season.
- Stotts has led Portland to the playoffs in the last seven seasons but never past the West Finals.
- Portland has the 7th best odds to win the West this season.
The season isn’t over yet but according to reports, Terry Stotts tenure with the Portland Trail Blazers may be.
A report by The Athletic’s Shams Charania suggests that the Blazers “expected” to move on from Stotts after the season and unless he “pulls off a rabbit out of his hat with a playoff miracle of sorts”, Portland is expected to find a new voice on the bench.
The story says that Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Jason Kidd, Atlanta Hawks interim head coach Nate McMillan, and L.A. Clippers assistant coach Chauncey Billups are the names that Portland is eyeing to replace Stotts.
Dame Time Ticking Away
— theScore NBA (@theScoreNBA) June 30, 2019
In 2019, superstar guard Damian Lillard signed a four-year $196M supermax extension. That deal starts to take effect next season and while Lillard has not shown any signs of being disgruntled and continues to pledge his loyalty to the Blazers, management does not want him to come to that point. While he is still playing at an All-NBA level right now, the Blazers want to capitalize on that.
Lillard is already 30-years old and while he continues to avoid serious injury, no one knows what the future holds. Portland isn’t also a big market like Los Angeles or New York which would make them an ideal landing spot for top free agents. Unless they trade Lillard’s backcourt partner C.J. McCollum, making an immediate significant roster change would be difficult and the only big change that could shake up the team would be a coaching move.
Sources say that the front office believes that Stotts has taken the team as far as his abilities as a coach could and that the enthusiasm of their 2018-19 Western Conference Finals appearance has evaporated. The Blazers aren’t sure yet of making the playoffs this season although they have a good chance. Winning in the playoffs even in the first round, isn’t a guarantee given how good the Western Conference teams have performed.
Portland is 7th in the Standings
The NBA standings entering Wednesday’s action.
Teams ranked 7-10 will participate in the #StateFarmPlayIn Tournament after the regular season (May 18-21) to secure the final two spots in the #NBAPlayoffs for each conference. pic.twitter.com/rsSyQvA1gk
— NBA (@NBA) May 5, 2021
This season, the Blazers are fighting for the 5th or 6th spot and outright playoff entry. As of the NBA team standings before Wednesday’s games, the 36-29 Blazers are one game behind the Dallas Mavericks and L.A. Lakers who are tied for 5th place with identical 37-28 records.
The Blazers have made the playoffs in seven consecutive seasons but have advanced past the first round only three times during that span. Their best run was in 2019 when Portland went all the way to the Western Conference Finals where they were swept by the Golden State Warriors. Last season, the Blazers were ousted in the first round by the eventual champions Los Angeles Lakers 4-1 after wining the first play-in tournament against the Grizzlies.
Portland is a longshot 7th to win the Western Conference at +3300 and the Blazers are even far out at 12th to win the NBA championship at +6600 at SportsBetting.ag. If the oddsmakers are correct, then there is little to no chance that Portland wins the championship this season. But if Portland can improve last season’s finish, then perhaps that can be the “rabbit out of his hat” that saves Terry Stotts from going jobless.