The Trail Blazers’ list of coaching candidates was expected to be short: Chauncey Billups.
By expanding the search, Portland has made history with Hammon.
San Antonio Spurs assistant Becky Hammon is a finalist for the Portland Trail Blazers’ head-coaching job, marking the first time a woman has gone into the final stages of an NBA coaching search, sources tell The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Sam Amick.
The Trail Blazers have interviewed several candidates for the job, including Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups, South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley, Nets assistant Mike D’Antoni and Spurs vice president of basketball operations Brent Barry, sources said. Multiple members of that list are expected to be part of the final stage of interviews for the Trail Blazers.
There are accomplishments that stand the test of time and accomplishments that feel like a big deal in the moment but fade as the level of accomplishments rise.
This, like Hammon acting as head coach for a half in the preseason or acting as head coach after Gregg Popovich got ejected, is the latter.
By the time an NBA team hires a woman as head coach – it’s coming sooner than later – Hammon being the first female finalist for the job will be more of a footnote. The actual hiring will be so much more important, rendering these search details nearly irrelevant.
The important takeaway: Women are getting more opportunities in NBA coaching. Female assistant coaches are becoming almost common, and standouts – like Hammon – are getting real head-coaching consideration.
So, for now, Hammon advancing in the search is an important step. But as women get the opportunities they deserve in this profession, it’ll become a forgotten footnote.