PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - Trail Blazers Team President and General Manager Neil Olshey held a press conference Monday morning via Zoom and thanked former Head Coach Terry Stotts for their nine seasons together. After a fourth first round exit in five years, the Blazers and Stotts parted ways on Friday night.
“I think we reached a ceiling with the team. It was not an easy decision obviously, you know how I feel about Terry. Multiple people participated in the process. We entered the season and we felt like we really needed to show improvement on the defensive end of the floor, we needed to advance in the playoffs and the decision was pretty much made,” said Olshey.
After watching one of the best offenses in the league again crumble in the first round with the second lowest rated defense, Olshey is seeking a new voice who he says, can hold players accountable on both sides of the ball.
As far as Olshey’s job security with franchise Chairwoman Jody Allen, Olshey said the first round loss was not a product of the roster. Stotts was the only coach Damian Lillard has had in Rip City and Dame will have a bit of a say in who the next leader of the franchise will be. Lillard went on the record over the weekend saying he liked Jason Kidd or Chauncey Billups.
Kidd, a current assistant with the Lakers, has pulled his name from consideration. Billups is an assistant with the Clippers.
“We’ve got a lot exciting candidates we are looking at and Dame will play an integral role in that so the fact that Dame publicly wanted to support different people, that’s Dame. You ask Dame, he’s going to give you an answer but there are nuances to this process and it is a more in-depth process then just at first glance who someone likes, we have to dig deeper into this,” said Olshey.
While no candidates have yet been contacted, Olshey expects to have a preliminary list of 20-25 options by the end of the week. As far as offseason roster moves, the Blazers are up against the salary cap and do not have a first round pick the in NBA Draft. While four of the five starters remain under contract, Norman Powell is the number one priority to re-sign this offseason.