Kidd says he won’t vie to become Blazers’ coach

  • Host of The Woj Pod
  • Joined ESPN in 2017

Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Jason Kidd has withdrawn his name from consideration for the Portland Trail Blazers head-coaching vacancy, he told ESPN on Sunday morning.

“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 told ESPN. “Whoever they choose will have big shoes to fill from Terry [Stotts].”

Kidd was ultimately uncomfortable with the idea of pursuing the opening after Blazers star Damian Lillard publicly called for his hiring within hours of Stotts’ departure on Friday night. The public nature of Lillard’s endorsement — telling Yahoo Sports that “Jason Kidd is the guy I want” — left Kidd feeling he would put both Lillard and Portland’s process in an awkward circumstance should he pursue the opening.

The Blazers have yet to ask for permission to speak to — or reach out directly to — any potential candidates, but that’s expected to change once the first round of the playoffs ends Sunday, sources said.

Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups, former New York Knicks and Houston Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy, Brooklyn Nets assistant Mike D’Antoni and Michigan coach Juwan Howard are among the candidates the Blazers are expected to consider, sources said.

Kidd has been the top assistant under Frank Vogel with the Lakers for two seasons, including their 2020 NBA championship. Kidd had two stops as a head coach, including Brooklyn — which he led to the Eastern Conference semifinals in 2013-2014 — and the Milwaukee Bucks (2015-2018), where he reached the playoffs twice in three-plus years on the job.

As a player, Kidd is considered one of the all-time great point guards. His 19-year career earned him entrance into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

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