PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Trail Blazers are "increasingly expected" to part ways with head coach Terry Stotts after this season barring a "playoff miracle," according to a report in The Athletic.
NBA reporters Shams Charania and Sam Amick wrote that Portland's "lack of progress and adjustments over the course of the season" under Stotts is one of the reasons the Blazers will likely look for a new coach in the offseason.
Stotts is in his ninth season with the Blazers and he's led Portland to seven consecutive playoff appearances. The team reached the Western Conference finals in 2019, where they were swept by the Golden State Warriors. The other six seasons, they've reached the second round twice and been eliminated in the first round the other four times.
This season, expectations were high for the Blazers following the offseason trade for Robert Covington. But Portland struggled out of the gate, losing four of its first seven games and early season injuries derailed the season further, with CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic both missing more than two months. Zach Collins, who was expected to start or player a major reserve role, has yet to play this season after an injury setback in December.
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The Blazers are 36-29 and in seventh place in the West. While the team has excelled on offense, ranking fifth in offensive rating this season, they've been a poor defensive team, with the second-worst defensive rating in the NBA.
Charania and Amick also reported that Stotts "has less player support now than he did in years past." In previous seasons, both Damian Lillard and McCollum have vouched for Stotts.
If the Blazers move on from Stotts, Charania and Amick reported that they'll likely pursue a "big name, high-dollar coach to replace him."
"Remember, this is the same ownership group that has the Seattle Seahawks and their dynamic leader, Pete Carroll," they wrote. "The thinking, potentially, is that it’s time for Lillard’s Blazers to have someone of that ilk to take them to the next level."
Charania and Amick reported that potential coaching candidates for the Blazers include Los Angeles Lakers assistant Jason Kidd, Atlanta Hawks interim coach and former Blazers head coach Nate McMillan, Philadelphia 76ers assistant Dave Joerger, Los Angeles Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups and San Antonio Spurs vice president of basketball operations Brent Barry.