Former NBA Champ Being ‘Monitored’ for Top Coaching Jobs: Report

Chauncey Billups

Getty Chauncey Billups coaches up his young Trail Blazers.

Since the Portland Trail Blazers disappointing end to the 2023-24 NBA season, the franchise has begun making coaching changes, though nothing has happened for head coach Chauncey Billups as of yet. reported that assistants Scott Brooks and Rodney Billups would not be offered contract renewals, in addition to Steve Hetzel taking a job with the Brooklyn Nets.

According to Chris Mannix of, NBA teams are monitoring the situation, and Billups would “quickly emerge as a candidate for other jobs.” Billups hasn’t seen much success in the role of head coach, putting together an 81-165 record in three seasons while watching Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Josh Hart, Jusuf Nurkic and others leave the franchise.

Independent Blazers journalist Sean Highkin noted, “Billups is going into the final guaranteed year of his contract without an extension, said at exit interviews that he wants to win while Joe Cronin said developing is still priority 1, and has lost three assistants (including his brother) in the past month.”

What Coaches Are on the Hot Seat?

The three names that continue to come up are Monty Williams of the Detroit Pistons, Billy Donovan of the Chicago Bulls and more recently, Frank Vogel of the Phoenix Suns.

There’s a natural fit in Detroit, as Billups was part of the 2003-04 NBA Championship team and the fans would welcome him with open arms. Having a roster full of young talent (led by 22-year-old Cade Cunningham) means an expectation of growth, and after losing 28 games in a row, there’s nowhere to go but up.

Chicago doesn’t include the playing ties, but it’s a situation with reasonable expectations and a modicum of proven talent on the roster. It’s not Donovan’s fault that Lonzo Ball continues to be out and Zach LaVine played in just 25 games last season, yet the team still snuck into the NBA Play-In Tournament, defeating the Atlanta Hawks before falling to the Miami Heat.

Phoenix would be the most daunting task, with a win-now roster and next to no financial flexibility. The trio of Kevin Durant, Bradley Beal and Devin Booker are fresh off being swept by the upstart Minnesota Timberwolves and fingers are being pointed in all directions as to where the blame belongs. Owner Mat Ishbia has pledged his desire to keep the team together, though the coach is often the first domino to fall.

Should the Blazers Stay Pat?

This is a tricky question, because you either believe Billups is a good coach and the team isn’t responding, or Billups is a bad coach and the team isn’t the problem. Either way, a change is the quickest way to pacify a fanbase that has suffered through its longest playoff drought (three seasons) since the Mo Cheeks/Nate McMillan transition.

Billups supporters can point to the insane fact that no Blazers player started more than 55 games in 2023-24 and a total of 18 different players found themselves in the starting lineup over the course of the season. It’s impossible to develop continuity and make an impact as a coach when you’re dealing with a revolving door.

The roster isn’t likely to turn over soon, with Deandre Ayton, Jerami Grant, Anfernee Simons and Robert Williams III among the notables locked up for at least the next two seasons. Scoot Henderson and Shaedon Sharpe will have reasonably priced club options in 2025-26.

Portland has four picks (4th, 14th, 34th and 40th) in the 2024 NBA Draft (assuming odds hold up), giving a new head coach the opportunity to round out the roster in the way they see fit. If the Blazers want to make a change, they should do it now and let Billups get a fresh start elsewhere.

Read More