So much for Damian Lillard’s initial support of the Trail Blazers hiring Chauncey Billups as head coach.
A Yahoo Sports Sunday piece penned by Chris Haynes, a Lillard confidant, stated Lillard never suggested Billups as a potential hire and didn’t know about a sexual assault allegation made against Billups more than two decades ago.
Lillard has been receiving social-media backlash that he initiated the hiring of Billups, who finalized a five-year deal on Sunday, according to ESPN.
The hullabaloo could push Lillard “out the door,” along with his doubts about whether the Blazers can build a title team, according to Haynes. Lillard originally stated on social media he’d love for his fellow Oakland, Calif. product Jason Kidd to get the job before Kidd withdrew his name and eventually landed the Dallas Mavericks job.
Desperate for a starting point guard and another star performer to go along with Julius Randle, the Knicks are monitoring Lillard’s situation to see whether he will ask for a trade. Lillard is the Knicks’ top choice for a new point guard, according to sources. The Knicks are likely willing to part with three first-round picks in any deal.
On Saturday, in response to a tweet critical of him for the hiring of Billups, Lillard said he was not “aware” of the sexual assault allegations from 1997. Billups, then a member of the Boston Celtics, and teammate Ron Mercer were accused by a woman of sexual misconduct at the home of former Boston forward Antoine Walker.
Lillard wrote, “Really? I was asked what coaches I like of the names I “heard” and I named them. Sorry I wasn’t aware of their history I didn’t read the news when I was 7/8yrs old. I don’t support Those things … but if this the route y’all wana come at me… say less”
No criminal charges were filed, and Mercer and Billups settled a civil lawsuit with the accuser for an undisclosed sum three years later. Walker also settled a lawsuit with the accuser, who said Walker failed to prevent the alleged rape.
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