Blazers part ways with coach Terry Stotts after first-round exit

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·2-min read

The Portland Trail Blazers will look for a new coach after their first-round exit.

The Blazers agreed to part ways with head coach Terry Stotts on Friday, sources told Yahoo Sports senior NBA insider Chris Haynes.

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Stotts' exit ends a nine-season tenure in Portland, in which the Blazers reached the playoffs eight times. Five of those playoff berths ended in the first round, though, including the last two trips.

The Blazers' most recent exit came on Thursday, with the team falling to the Denver Nuggets in six games.

Where do Blazers go from here?

Moving on from Stotts resolves one question mark for the Blazers, but they still have plenty to figure out if they want to take the next step.

The good news is they still have an MVP candidate under contract until 2025 in Damian Lillard, though a cryptic Instagram post could be worrying. Trade buzz has raged around Lillard since the Blazers' elimination, though mostly in the form of other teams' fans hoping he'll be available.

The roster around Lillard is much less resolved. Norman Powell, Carmelo Anthony and Enes Kanter are among the players who could hit free agency, and the Blazers' disappointing outcomes since reaching the Western Conference finals in 2019 have raised uncomfortable questions about the futures of core players like CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic.

Damian Lillard will have input on next coach

The Blazers' next coach will have to help answer those questions, and we'll see who the team targets as the coaching search begins. 

Haynes reported earlier Friday that Los Angeles Lakers assistant Jason Kidd, who has head coaching experience with the Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets, is expected to be a top candidate.

The franchise's centerpiece player also will have a hand in the decision, sources told Haynes.

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