It turns out, Kidd was put off by the very public ask. Kidd has withdrawn his name from consideration for the Trail Blazers job, as reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
“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.
Kidd, who spent the last two seasons as an assistant to Frank Vogel with the Lakers, is still in consideration for the Boston Celtics coaching job (that hiring process has started with interviews of in-house assistant Celtics coaches). Kidd’s name likely will be tied to every opening that comes up.
This may clear the path for Chauncey Billups to become the next Portland coach; he reportedly is at the top of GM Neil Olshey’s list. Billups is currently an assistant coach under Tyronn Lue with the Clippers.
Whoever takes over the Portland job will face a lot of pressure. After being bounced in the first round of the playoffs four of the past five years, and with Lillard in his prime, there is pressure to win now with the Trail Blazers. A lot of that will fall to Olshey and how he shakes up the roster this offseason — this is not a championship team as currently constructed — but the coach will be the guy expected to meld a new roster into something that can make a deep playoff run.