Longtime San Antonio assistant coach Brett Brown, a Portland, Maine, native who played basketball at Boston University and grew up a diehard Celtics fan, is “extremely” interested in becoming the Celtics’ new head coach, league sources told the Globe Friday.
However, it’s unclear how long Brown, whom the sources said has not been contacted by the Celtics, will be on the market. The Philadelphia 76ers are very interested in hiring Brown, who is considered one of the top candidates available, to fill their head coaching vacancy.
In fact, the New York Daily News reported Thursday night that the 76ers were set to hire Brown to replace Doug Collins. But Sam Hinkie, the 76ers general manager, denied that report.
“We had a lot of things going on,” said Hinkie early Friday morning. “That was not part of what happened in the last several hours.”
As of Friday, the only NBA teams that hadn’t hired a coach were the Celtics and 76ers, and a league source pointed out that each team is likely looking at similar candidates.
Brown has worked for the Spurs since 2002, spending five seasons as an assistant coach/director of player development before moving to the bench as an assistant to head coach Gregg Popovich prior to the 2006-07 season.
Prior to joining the Spurs, Brown coached in the Australian National Basketball League (149 career wins) and also coached the Australian national team to the 2012 Olympics.
The son of New England Basketball Hall of Fame coach Bob Brown, Brett played four seasons at Boston University (1980-83) under coach Rick Pitino and was the team’s MVP in 1981.
According to a report in the San Antonio Express-News, Spurs general manager R.C. Buford said Brown is still in line to replace the departed Mike Budenholzer as the Spurs’ lead assistant. Budenholzer left to become head coach of the Atlanta Hawks.
One potential candidate the Celtics are taking a hard look at is assistant Jay Larranaga, whom Doc Rivers is interested in taking with him to round out his coaching staff with the Los Angeles Clippers, a league source said.
Larranaga, son of Miami (Fla.) men’s basketball coach Jim Larranaga, has supervised the Celtics’ draft prospect workouts, and he’ll be head coach of their summer league team, which will be an audition of sorts for the Celtics’ head coaching job.