As the Portland Trail Blazers begin their search for a head coach to replace Terry Stotts, Los Angeles Lakers assistant Jason Kidd will not be among the candidates they interview. Early reports suggested that the Blazers, who parted ways with Stotts shortly after the team was bounced from the first round of the playoffs this week, were interested in interviewing Kidd for the position. However, Kidd announced Sunday that he's withdrawing his name from the interview process.
"Portland's a first-class organization and will have great candidates for its head-coaching job, but I've decided not to be one of them," Kidd said via ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. "Whoever they choose will have big shoes to fill from Terry [Stotts]."
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Kidd's decision to not pursue the Portland job is largely due to Blazers' franchise centerpiece Damian Lillard making it known publicly that he wanted Kidd to be the next head coach, per Wojnarowski. Lillard told Yahoo's Chris Haynes "Jason Kidd is the guy I want," shortly after the Blazers and Stotts agreed to part ways. Kidd reportedly felt that Lillard's public declaration would make the interviewing process for Portland complicated, so he's ultimately bowing out before the Blazers even start interviewing candidates.
While Kidd is out of the mix for Portland, its been reported that the team is interested in interviewing Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups, Nets assistant Mike D'Antoni and current University of Michigan coach Juwan Howard. Whoever replaces Stotts, though, will inherit a playoff-contending roster, but Lillard and the Blazers want to compete for championships and the next coach Portland hires will be crucial in determining if that's possible for this roster.