Blazers fire coach Stotts after nine seasons

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The Portland Trail Blazers fired coach Terry Stotts on Friday after a fourth first-round playoff exit in five seasons.

The Blazers' season ended in disappointment after a 126-115 Game 6 loss to the Denver Nuggets, in which they squandered a 14-point second-half lead at home. The frustration was evident in the Blazers' postgame media session after the game.

"For our season to end on our home floor is disappointing. That's as far as I am right now," Lillard said after the game. "I'm not thinking about none of the other s--- like change or whatever, man. We'll see what happens, but I haven't even thought that far out."

Portland earned the sixth seed in the Western Conference with a 42-30 regular-season record and had momentum going into the postseason, having won 10 of its final 12 regular-season games. Damian Lillard was impressive in the series, but it was not enough to overcome the Denver Nuggets, who won the series 4-2.

"I have the utmost respect for Terry and what he has accomplished these past nine seasons," 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.

"Terry will always hold a special place in the Trail Blazer family and the Portland community. We relied on the integrity, professionalism and consistency he brought to the job every day and we wish he and Jan nothing but the best."

Stotts made a league-leading eight consecutive postseason appearances and finished at least .500 in all but two of his seasons in Portland. Unfortunately, Stotts went 20-36 in his first seven trips to the playoffs, and Blazers lost in the first round in five of those eight appearances, with each elimination coming in either four or five games.

The 27-year coaching veteran was 402-318 (.558) in his nine seasons as Blazers coach and overall holds a career coaching record of 517-486 (.515).

Stotts leaves Portland as the second-winningest coach in franchise history, after Jack Ramsay, who he joins as one of two coaches in Blazers history with 400 wins.

Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Jason Kidd is considered a top candidate to replace Stotts along with Los Angeles Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups, Brooklyn Nets assistant Mike D'Antoni and Michigan's Juwan Howard.