The Celtics are embarking on a crucial head-coaching search. Brad Stevens has been tasked with finding his replacement — a consequential decision that could set the course of the franchise’s future.
We’ll be tracking all the updates — the newest candidates, the interview requests, the latest developments — right here.
June 14: D’Antoni, Billups, Hammon to interview in Portland
ESPN is reporting that Brooklyn Nets assistant Mike D’Antoni will interview for the vacant Portland Trail Blazers job on Monday.
Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups — a name that’s cropped up for the Celtics — and Spurs assistant Becky Hammon will also interview in Portland this week.
If the Celtics want their choice of candidates, they’ll have to operate with urgency. Portland is one of four open jobs.
June 14: Making their pitch
A nutrition company put a billboard up near the Celtics’ training complex in Boston Landing making a clear pitch: It’s time for a female head coach in the NBA.
June 10: Cross Juwan Howard off the list
ESPN reports that Michigan men’s basketball head coach Juwan Howard won’t become an NBA coach right now.
Adrian Wojnarowski says Howard is “not interested in even a discussion on leaving Ann Arbor,” his alma mater.
June 10: Brad Stevens needs urgency
It’s unsurprising that Brad Stevens is embarking on a meticulous, thorough search to replace him as head coach. But it looks like the timeline could be speeding up.
There are three other teams looking to replace their coaches: The Portland Trail Blazers (who fired Terry Stotts after their playoff ouster), the Orlando Magic (who parted ways with Steve Clifford), and the Indiana Pacers (who got rid of Nate Bjorkgen after just one season).
But several league executives feel as if the Celtics will have their choice of candidates because it’s the best job on the market.
Gary Washburn lays out the competition in this story, outlining how it appears Chauncey Billups may be the leader in the clubhouse. Trouble is, the Celtics might not be the only team interested — Portland is also keeping an eye on him (and on Rick Carlisle’s future with the Dallas Mavericks).
Celtics assistant Jerome Allen is also scheduled to meet with the Trail Blazers — adding a wrinkle to the situation.
June 9: Permission requested
Stevens has requested permission to speak to at least five assistants on other staffs:
- Chauncey Billups (Clippers)
- Darvin Ham (Bucks)
- Charles Lee (Bucks)
- Jamahl Mosley (Mavericks)
- Ime Udoka (Nets)
ESPN Sources: Celtics president Brad Stevens has started to get permission to speak to head coaching candidates, including with assistants Chauncey Billups (Clippers), Darvin Ham and Charles Lee (Bucks), Jamahl Mosley (Mavericks) and Ime Udoka (Nets).— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 9, 2021
June 9: Interviews for all the assistants
According to ESPN, Stevens interviewed all his assistants: Jay Larranaga, Jerome Allen, Scott Morrison and Joe Mazzulla.
June 6: The odds
In his Sunday Basketball Notes on June 6, Gary Washburn offered up odds for six top contenders for the job:
The former Celtic is now a Clippers assistant coach under ex-Celtics assistant Tyronn Lue. Billups has been regarded as a future NBA coach or general manager and there were talks with his hometown Nuggets about a position before he decided to stay at ESPN. Knowing he needed to gain experience to be considered for a head coaching job, Billups joined the Clippers. He is the most accomplished candidate, with a reputation as a leader on the 2003-04 Pistons championship team. Billups would seem like a natural to build relationships with players and use his basketball acumen to take the Celtics to the next level.
Another former player with Celtics ties, Cassell is now with Rivers in Philadelphia after spending five years as an assistant with the Wizards and another six with Rivers with the Clippers. Cassell has coached teams in summer leagues and has been groomed to lead his own team. He has paid his dues as an assistant, is familiar with the Celtics’ brass after being a member of the 2007-08 title team, and is highly respected around the league. Cassell also has an affable style and personality that is popular with players.
He doesn’t carry a big name, but Udoka is a highly respected assistant waiting for his first big opportunity. Udoka, 43, is a member of Steve Nash’s staff in Brooklyn and was with Brett Brown’s staff in Philadelphia, so he is familiar with the Celtics. Udoka comes from the Gregg Popovich coaching tree with the Spurs and won a title as an assistant in 2014. He may not bring the sizzle of other coaches, but Udoka should get a long look.
The Celtics assistant is a former coach at Penn and has been with Boston for the past four years. He has been a positive influence, forging close relationships with the players, but it may be difficult to sell ownership on someone on the current staff with such close ties to Stevens. Still, Allen’s goal is to be an NBA head coach, and he’s been an asset to Stevens.
Another assistant on Stevens’s staff, Larranaga was a finalist for the Hornets job that went to James Borrego. He has worked closely with Tatum and Brown and can be credited with aiding their ascension. Again, it may be difficult for Larranaga to have a chance because it may be perceived that Stevens is playing favorites. If it doesn’t work out for Larranaga, he could be a holdover on the new coach’s staff.
The Duke women’s coach spent a season with the Celtics as an assistant before joining the Blue Devils in a season that was short-lived because of COVID-19. Would Lawson leave Duke and her new recruits for an NBA opportunity? Is the timing right? The Celtics think highly of Lawson and she was popular with the players because of her work ethic and basketball knowledge. It may be a difficult sell because of her commitment to Duke, but Lawson will get an interview if she wants it.