Stotts out as Blazers’ coach after nine seasons

After a fourth first-round playoff exit in five seasons, the Portland Trail Blazers and coach Terry Stotts mutually agreed to part ways on Friday, the team announced.

Stotts leaves Portland as the second-winningest coach in franchise history, including eight consecutive playoff appearances — the longest streak in the league. He was 402-318 in his nine seasons as Blazers coach.

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    Portland’s season ended with an opening-round Game 6 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night.

    “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 led the Blazers to a berth in the Western Conference finals in 2019, and two more trips to the conference semifinals during his tenure in Portland. He agreed to a multiyear extension after the 2018-19 season and had one guaranteed year left on the deal.

    LA Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups, former Knicks and Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy, Brooklyn Nets assistant Mike D’Antoni and Michigan’s Juwan Howard are among candidates expected to be considered for the Blazers’ opening, sources said.