Trail Blazers, Stotts agree to part ways

Rocky Widner / National Basketball Association / Getty

The Portland Trail Blazers and head coach Terry Stotts mutually agreed to part ways, the team announced Friday.

"I have the utmost respect for Terry and what he has accomplished these past nine seasons," Trail Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey said in a statement. "This was a difficult decision on both a personal and professional level but it's in the best interest of the franchise to move in another direction."

Stotts leaves the Blazers as the franchise's second-winningest head coach with 402 regular-season victories. While the 63-year-old produced an impressive 402-318 regular-season record, he repeatedly failed to guide Portland deep into the playoffs despite making eight straight postseason appearances.

With Portland's latest early elimination at the hands of the Denver Nuggets, the team has now failed to advance past Round 1 for the fourth time in its last five campaigns.

Los Angeles Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups, former NBA head coach Jeff Van Gundy, Brooklyn Nets assistant Mike D'Antoni, and Michigan bench boss Juwan Howard are among those expected to be candidates for the vacancy, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. It was previously reported that Los Angeles Lakers assistant Jason Kidd would be one of Portland's top targets.

Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard, who has only been coached by Stotts since entering the league ahead of the 2012-13 season, will play a significant role in choosing his successor, according to Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes.

Trail Blazers, Stotts agree to part ways
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