BOSTON (CBS) — The Celtics have a new president of basketball ops., but now they need a new head coach. That will be the first order of business in Brad Stevens’ new role.
Some potential candidates have come to light since Wednesday’s stunning announcement that Danny Ainge was retiring and Stevens was taking over as Celtics president. Stevens made it clear that he will not be serving duel roles for Boston, and he’s got an open mind about the search.
“One of the things I’ve learned being in coaching, coaching against other great coaches, is there are a lot of different ways to coach and a lot of different ways to be successful as a coach,” said Stevens. “I’m looking forward to diving into this process and the good news about whoever we hire, they don’t have to fill Doc Rivers’ shoes like I did or Danny Ainge’s shoes like I do. They just have to figure out a way to be better than the last guy.”
Here’s a quick look at who could be roaming the sideline for the Celtics in 2022 and beyond.
Cassell won a title with Boston in 2008 — one of the three rings he won as a player. He was a well-respected point guard and leader during his playing days, and he’s been an assistant coach since he retired in 2009. He’s been on Doc Rivers’ staff since 2014, both with the Los Angeles Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers.
Billups was drafted by the Celtics with the third overall pick in 1997, but was traded by Rick Pitino midway through his rookie season. It took some time for his career to get going, but once it did, all Billups did was hit big shot after big shot. He was in the running for Detroit’s GM job a few years ago, but is currently on the L.A. Clippers bench as an assistant to Ty Lue.
What’s great about both Billups and Cassell is they’re both close with Kevin Garnett, so maybe there’d be a spot for KG on the Boston bench if either get the gig.
Another hot name in coaching circles, Udoka was an NBA journeyman for seven years in addition to playing overseas. He was an assistant under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio for seven seasons, and has spent the last two years on the Sixers and Nets bench, respectively.
We’ve heard a lot about San Antonio’s Becky Hammon becoming the first female head coach in NBA history, but Lawson may beat her to it. Lawson was well-respected in her one season as a Celtics assistant coach, and left last July for the head coaching job of the Duke women’s program.
Pierce was a longtime assistant before taking over the Atlanta Hawks in 2018. He was fired in March after leading Atlanta to a 63-120 record over his two-plus seasons. He’s on Boston’s wish list, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.
Kidd was a Hall of Fame point guard and he does have some coaching experience, getting one drink-spilling season in Brooklyn before getting a three-plus year run in Milwaukee. He was 183-190 in the regular season as a head coach and 9-15 in the playoffs, and is currently on the L.A. Lakers staff. Haynes also reported that Kidd is expected to be a candidate for the Boston job.
The Celtics are expected to interview internal candidates for the job, so Jay Larranaga, Jerome Allen and Scott Morrison will all get a look. Larranaga has been around even longer than Stevens, joining the Boston staff in 2012. Allen has been on the Boston bench since 2015 and Morrison 2017.