The Portland Trail Blazers have fired assistant coach Kim Hughes, a few days after Hughes told an Indiana TV station LaMarcus Aldridge wouldn’t be returning to the team, according to The Oregonian.
Hughes recorded an interview with Indiana’s WTHI a day after the NBA draft, video of which was posted Tuesday, telling the station, “We didn’t publicize it, but we lost LaMarcus Aldridge. It hasn’t been declared yet, but I’m sure he won’t come back. We will go young.’’ Here’s the video of Hughes’s comments:
The Blazers front office quickly fired back with a statement of their own after Hughes’s quote, saying Aldridge’s fate was far from decided, and the coach had no involvement in personnel matters. Earlier today, of course, Aldridge announced he was leaving Portland for the San Antonio Spurs.
It’s been an uneasy offseason for Portland. The Blazers lost Aldridge, Robin Lopez and Wes Matthews to free agency. They traded Nic Batum for a promising prospect in Noah Vonleh, and the team appears to be in full rebuild mode. This makes the move to fire Hughes even more perplexing. As the team’s big man coach, Hughes presumably worked closely with Aldridge, and would’ve had a chance to mold Vonleh and new additions Ed Davis and Mason Plumlee.
A starting five that seemed to be a guarantee for a top-five seed in the West—no small feat—has now been reduced to Damian Lillard and a bunch of unknowns. We’ll miss those Portland teams.
Photo via Associated Press