Chauncey Billups Reportedly Emerges as Candidate for Pacers HC Vacancy

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistSeptember 10, 2020

FILE - In this Feb. 10, 2016, file photo, former Detroit Pistons player Chauncey Billups addresses the media in Auburn Hills, Mich. Billups has withdrawn his name from the Cleveland Cavaliers' search for a new general manager. He released a statement to ESPN on Monday, July 4, 2017, saying that
Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

Former NBA star Chauncey Billups "has emerged as a candidate" for the Indiana Pacers' head-coaching vacancy, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.   

Per that report, "As the Pacers begin preliminary interviews with a number of candidates, Billups and the Pacers officials have recently engaged and are planning to talk further conversations about the job, sources said."

Woj added that Billups "fits the historical profile of past Pacers coaches Larry Bird and Isiah Thomas: NBA Finals MVPs considered generational leaders of men—who were hired without coaching experience."

Another former star point guard with no coaching experience recently landed a high-profile gig when Steve Nash was hired as the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets. 

While there have been reports that Tyronn Lue was hoping to hire Billups as an assistant coach for his staff once he lands with a team, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported last week that he was interested in becoming a head coach. He had previously been in talks with the Cleveland Cavaliers to take over as their general manager in 2017, though he pulled out of consideration. 

As Haynes noted, the 43-year-old was "viewed by most of his teammates as a player-coach" during his career. Haynes added that "his leadership skills and knack for hitting big shots gave him iconic status around the league. He was always one of the most respected players among his peers and coaches."

Billups played 17 NBA seasons, averaging 15.2 points and 5.4 assists per game. He was an NBA champion, a five-time All-Star, a three-time All-NBA selection (second team once, third team twice) and a two-time All-Defensive second-team selection. 

In Indiana, he'd take over a talented if somewhat ill-fitting Pacers roster that was swept in the opening round of this year's playoffs by the Miami Heat. There are major questions marks about the future of Victor Oladipo in Indiana, as well as the fit between big men Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis. 

Solving those issues would be up to the front office (though Woj reported that Billups has developed a relationship with Oladipo and Malcolm Brogdon in recent years). Ending Indiana's streak of five postseason appearances without advancing beyond the first round would be his early goal should he take the gig.