Jason Kidd out of Blazers running due to Damian Lillard plea

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Damian Lillard unwittingly made a huge mistake.

The Trail Blazers superstar’s public plea for the team to hire Jason Kidd as its new coach after parting ways with Terry Stotts made Kidd not want the job, according to ESPN. Kidd, currently a Lakers assistant, has taken himself out of consideration for the vacancy because he’s reportedly “uncomfortable” pursuing the opening in the wake of Lillard’s stance.

“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, 48, told ESPN. “Whoever they choose will have big shoes to fill from Terry.”

Lillard told Yahoo Sports shortly after Stotts’ nine-year run came to an end that “Jason Kidd is the guy I want.” Kidd, the former Nets and Bucks head coach, felt the request would put the Trail Blazers’ coaching search “in an awkward circumstance,” per ESPN.

Damian Lillard Jason Kidd Trail Blazers coach
Damian Lillard (l.) wanted Jason Kidd (r.) to be the Trail Blazers’ next coach, but he’s not going to get his wish.
NBAE via Getty Images (2)

Stotts and the Blazers parted ways after the team lost a six-game, first-round playoff series to the Nuggets. Stotts led the team to eight straight playoff appearances, reaching the Western Conference final two years ago, but they were swept in that series by the Warriors and now have two consecutive first-round exits.

There was immediate speculation about Lillard’s future in Portland after the series. The Knicks are among teams who have already called the Blazers to inquire about a potential Lillard trade, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith revealed Friday on “First Take.”

Lillard, 30, has three guaranteed years remaining on a contract that will see him make $43 million next season. The six-time All-Star guard averaged 28.8 points and 7.5 assists during the 2020-21 regular season.

Portland’s coaching search is expected to include ex-Knicks coaches Jeff Van Gundy and Mike D’Antoni — who’s currently a Nets assistant — Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups and University of Michigan head coach Juwan Howard, according to ESPN.

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