Scott Brooks is headed to Portland.
Billups, a first-time head coach, reportedly inked a five-year deal with Portland. He served as an assistant to the Clippers in the 2020-21 season.
Brooks’ exit in Washington was announced last month after both parties reportedly couldn’t come to an agreement on a new contract. Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard said in a statement that it was his decision not to renew Brooks’ contract.
“I wouldn’t say it didn’t work out. I just think it’s time to move on,” Sheppard said at the time.
Brooks, who spent five seasons in Washington, led the Wizards to the playoffs three times and reached the Eastern Conference semifinals in the 2016-17 season.
His departure in Washington came as a shock to some after the Wizards had an impressive late-season run (17-6 over final 23 games), and even reached the playoffs before being eliminated by the 76ers in the first round.
Brooks also coached the Wizards through a challenging COVID-19 season, when the team experienced an outbreak of the virus in January that stalled their season for 13 days. At the time, seven Wizards players had entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
After the Wizards’ season ended in early June, Washington’s star backcourt in Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook championed Brooks’ return as head coach. Brooks coached Westbrook in Oklahoma City.
Beal, who is currently at training camp for Team USA ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, discussed Washington’s coaching search this week.
“When I first got the news, it was tough,” Beal told NBC Sports Washington of Brooks’ departure. “This is my second coach I’ve played for and even when I talked to him afterwards, [I said] how grateful I was towards him. He helped change my game and evolved my game to what it is now.”
As Billups continues to assemble a coaching staff in Portland, his hire was overshadowed by a decades-old sexual assault allegation.
Blazers franchise face Damian Lillard wasn’t too keen on Portland’s acquisition of Billups amid the controversy, according to Yahoo Sports. The point guard previously expressed his hope to see Jason Kidd in the head coach position in Portland — though, the former Lakers assistant secured a head coaching job in Dallas.
As for Lillard’s future in Portland? He addressed the buzz around trade rumors at Team USA’s training camp this week.
“There’s been a lot of talk. Nobody’s heard me say any of these things. But anything I have to say I’m going to say it directly to Neil [Olshey],” Lillard said about Portland’s GM. “I’m going to address it directly with my team. I don’t really have nothing to say to you guys [in the media] about it. Anything that I need to say or I feel has been said to Neil.”
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