Boston & Portland Hire New Coaches
This is a busy time for the NBA with the conference finals being held and teams preparing for the upcoming NBA Draft.
This is also the time of year that teams begin making new coaching hires and that was the case for a pair of teams this weekend.
There are still a handful of head coaching openings around the league, but the Boston Celtics and Portland Trail Blazers have made their decisions. Both franchises have been perennial playoff contenders, but a new head coach could potentially allow them to take the next step.
Both the Celtics and Blazers have a nucleus in place with some superstars on the roster, and there will be plenty of expectations placed on the new head coaches.
Udoka Hired By Boston
Ime Udoka has been hired to replace Brad Stevens in Boston, and it was Stevens himself that did the hiring. Stevens agreed to step down as head coach with the Celtics in order to take on a role in the front office.
Udoka already has a relationship with several of the stars on the Boston Celtics roster as he worked with them as a part of Team USA basketball. Udoka spent the 2020-21 season under Steve Nash with the Brooklyn Nets, but has made several other stops along the way.
After his playing career, Udoka began his coaching career as an assistant with the San Antonio Spurs. He also made a brief stop in Philadelphia and he is familiar with the Boston organization and with this roster.
Udoka has already had conversations with some of the young stars in Boston and he plans on coaching them hard. Boston was an NBA title contender in the preseason, but barely qualified for the postseason.
Billups Set to Lead Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers have hired Chauncey Billups to lead the team, and the two sides have agreed to a five-year deal. The 44-year-old is a former NBA Finals MVP with the Detroit Pistons and he is set to be introduced on Tuesday.
Portland moved on from head coach Terry Stotts after another early exit from the 2021 NBA Playoffs. The team was looking for someone that can work with Damian Lillard, but also looking for a coach that values defense.
Billups has spent time as an assistant with the LA Clippers and he has been coveted by other teams in the past. The Cleveland Cavaliers wanted to make Billups its President of Basketball Operations back in 2017, but Billups did not accept that position.
Damian Lillard publicly supported the hiring of Billups and he is considered one of the best leaders by members of the NBA circle. Billups worked closely with Paul George in Los Angeles and was credited with helping him turn into a playmaker.
Mike D’Antoni and Becky Hammon also met with the brass of the Portland Trail Blazers, but ultimately Billups was chosen from a large pool of contenders. Portland will be looking to surround Billups with some top-level assistant coaches from around the NBA.
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