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Meet the candidates who could be Celtics’ next coach

A look at 13 potential applicants to replace Doc Rivers

(Top row) David Blatt; Brett Brown; Vinny Del Negro; David Fizdale; Adrian Griffin; Fred Hoiberg; and Lionel Hollins. (Bottom row) George Karl; Jay Larranaga; Ettore Messina; Sam Mitchell; Pete Myers; and Scott Skiles.

Wanted — Head coach of the Boston Celtics. Must be prepared for indefinite rebuilding era. Must be able to develop young players. Must get along well with strong-headed point guards.

Then again, Danny Ainge, the Celtics president of basketball operations, said that he already has an idea of what the team wants as a replacement for Doc Rivers, who’s now in Clipperland.

“But coaches are like players,” Ainge added Monday. “Everybody’s looking for a Michael Jordan coach.”

Is one out there? Perhaps. But Ainge said there’s no rush, which means that nothing might be completed until later in the summer.

There are few “name” candidates, though, after 11 NBA teams hired coaches this offseason. Only two vacancies remain: Boston and Philadelphia.


Here, in alphabetical order, is a baker’s dozen list of potential candidates and their credentials:

David Blatt — Head coach of Israeli pro team Maccabi Tel Aviv. Coached Russian national team, which won gold at 2007 European championships and bronze at 2012 London Olympics. Coached in Turkey, Italy, and Greece. Played at Princeton under Pete Carril. Grew up in Framingham and graduated from Framingham South. Analysis: Highly respected, loads of global experience, knows Boston. Potential “splash” hire, but his first NBA coaching job could be tough sledding with rebuilding team. Still, he’s intriguing.

Brett Brown — Assistant to San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich since 2006-07. Five years as Spurs’ director of player development. Coached 14 seasons — nine as a head coach — with Australian teams in the National Basketball League. Australian national team head coach in 2012 Olympics. Son of New England Basketball Hall of Fame coach Bob Brown and native of Portland, Maine. Played at Boston University under Rick Pitino. Raised as a Celtics fan. Analysis: Local, with wide range of coaching experience. NBA sources say he badly wants the job. Will the 76ers hire him first?


Vinny Del Negro— Former Clippers head coach before being fired following a first-round playoff series loss to Memphis. Led Clippers to consecutive playoff appearances for only second time. Led Clippers to franchise-best 56 wins last season. Coached Chicago from 2008-10. Has posted a 210-184 record in five seasons as a NBA head coach. Teammate of Danny Ainge on Sacramento Kings for two seasons. Hails from Springfield. Analysis: Local guy, lots of head coaching experience. Ties with Ainge could help. Key question: How would he mesh with Rajon Rondo?

David Fizdale — Assistant to Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra since 2008. Also serves a Miami’s director of player development. Spent four seasons as Atlanta assistant coach. Began NBA coaching career as assistant for Golden State. Began college coaching career as assistant for University of San Diego, his alma mater. Analysis: Highly regarded. Noted for scouting, ability to work with young players. Will be a head coach soon. Was in the mix for the 76ers job.

Adrian Griffin — Assistant coach to Chicago head coach (and former Celtic assistant) Tom Thibodeau since 2010. Former assistant in Milwaukee. Played for six NBA teams, but started his playing career with the Celtics in 1999-2000. Played with CBA champion Connecticut Pride. Could also be bumped to Thibodeau’s lead assistant after Bulls abruptly fired assistant Ron Adams. Analysis: A “grinder.” Endorsed by Thibodeau, among others. Experience on defensive-minded teams is a bonus. Would be coming back to the team he started with. Will be a head coach soon.


Fred Hoiberg — Head coach at Iowa State, his alma mater. Played in NBA from 1995-2005, for Indiana (under Larry Brown and Larry Bird), Chicago (under Tim Floyd), and Minnesota (under Kevin McHale). NBA career ended at age 33 after undergoing open-heart surgery. Former vice president of basketball operations for the Timberwolves and also the team’s assistant general manager. Analysis: “The Mayor” is a strong candidate from the college ranks who has NBA experience in several areas. Unclear how his coaching style would translate, but a safe, potentially stable pick.

Lionel Hollins — Former Memphis head coach was fired last month after winning 56 regular-season games and leading Grizzlies to Western Conference finals. Since 2008, posted 196-155 record with Grizzlies; winningest coach in franchise history. Won NBA title as a player with Portland in 1977. Analysis: Demanding coach that players respect. Defensive-minded, as he was as a player. Considered a serious candidate for several head-coaching jobs. Would likely be expensive compared with other candidates. Doubtful that he’d want to lead rebuilding team, though.

George Karl — Former Denver head coach who was fired this offseason after being named 2013 NBA Coach of the Year. Coached Nuggets for nine seasons, leading them to the playoffs in each one. Coached Cleveland, Golden State, Seattle, and Milwaukee. Karl is 1,131-756 in 25 seasons as an NBA coach, a career .599 winning percentage. Analysis: Karl gets the most of the talent he has to work with, young or old, but he said he doesn’t want to coach a rebuilding team at this point in his career, making him an unlikely candidate. Still, he’d be a home run (and expensive).


Jay Larranaga — Currently a Celtics assistant. Joined Celtics in offseason after two seasons as head coach in NBA Development League with the Erie BayHawks. Played 12 seasons in Europe. A player-coach for the Irish national team. Assistant coach for Ukraine national team in summer of 2012. Father is Miami (Fla.) men’s basketball coach Jim Larranaga. Analysis: The Celtics are giving him a hard look. He’ll coach their Summer League team, which is more or less an audition. Good genes. Notable work ethic. Respected. A hire for stablity entering a rebuild.

Ettore Messina — Currently coaching CSKA in Moscow. Four-time Euroleague championship coach and two-time Euroleague Coach of the Year. Spent more than two decades as coach in Europe. Has won five Russian League championships and four Italian League titles. Spent 2011-12 season as assistant on Los Angeles Lakers staff. Analysis: Exceptional résumé. Very strong candidate to be first European-born NBA coach. Received serious interest for Atlanta job. Celtics owners might want him if only to make an attention-grabbing hire in wake of Rivers’s departure, but, like Blatt, Messina’s NBA head-coaching debut might be rough if it’s with a rebuilding team.

Sam Mitchell— Currently an NBA analyst in Toronto. Named 2006-07 NBA Coach of the Year after leading Raptors to 47-35 season, first place in Atlantic Division, and first playoff appearance since 2002. Coached Raptors to two postseason berths. Hired as assistant to Avery Johnson’s New Jersey staff in 2010. Served as assistant in Milwaukee under Karl. Played 13 seasons in NBA with Minnesota and Indiana. Analysis: Loads of NBA head coaching experience. Knows Atlantic Division well. Could be a good fit for a young, on-the-mend squad in Boston. That said, unlikely he’ll get a look.


Pete Myers — Assistant to Golden State coach Mark Jackson since 2011. Spent 12 seasons with Chicago as assistant and scout. Had stints as interim Bulls head coach for two games in 2003 and one during 2007. Played 377 regular-season games over nine seasons with seven teams (Bulls, Spurs, 76ers, Knicks, Nets, Heat, and Hornets). Played in the Italian League. Analysis: Lots of NBA experience, on the court and bench. Noted work ethic, basketball IQ. Liked around the league. Not a “name” guy, but a potential solid fit for a crew on the rebuild.

Scott Skiles — Former Milwaukee head coach for five seasons before parting ways with Bucks in January. Also coached in Chicago and Phoenix. Career 443-433 record in 13 seasons. His teams have reached the playoffs six times. Played 10 seasons in NBA, holds record for most assists in one game (30). Analysis: Solid background. Experienced. Was in the mix for the Nets job. Fiery coach. Notoriously hard on his players, meaning sparks could fly with Rondo.

Baxter Holmes can be reached at baxter.holmes@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BaxterHolmes.