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Top 8 Celtics coach candidates to replace Brad Stevens after promotion

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Top 8 Celtics coach candidates to replace Brad Stevens after promotion

The Celtics made some massive changes to their team in the wake of their Round 1 playoff loss to the Nets.

Brad Stevens is out as the team’s coach, but he hasn’t left the organization. Instead, he was promoted to the position of team chief of basketball operations. He replaces Danny Ainge, who is leaving after 18 years as Celtics general manager and a championship (2008).

But now, the Celtics will have their first new general manager in nearly two decades. And Stevens will be looking for who will be just the Celtics’ third coach since 2004.

MORE: What Stevens’ promotion and Ainge’s departure means for the Celtics

Replacing Stevens will not be easy. His 318 wins are the fourth-most in Celtics history behind Red Auerbach, Tommy Heinsohn and Doc Rivers. But because Stevens is ready to lead the search for the next coach, he should have the opportunity to choose a good one from a solid crop of available candidates. These are some of the best and rumored options for the team to target.

(Fake images)

Jason kidd

  • Current job: Lakers assistant coach
  • Head coach experience? Yes

Kidd Expected to Be Candidate for Celtics Coaching Job, Reports Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Kidd was once a star point guard in the NBA and led the league in assists for five of his 21 seasons. He also has a lot of experience as a coach.

Kidd is Frank Vogel’s staff coach with the Lakers, but before that he was in charge of the Nets and Bucks for five total seasons.

Overall, Kidd is 183-190 as a coach, but had only one losing season with the Nets and Bucks. He made the playoffs in three of the four full seasons he coached, but only won one series in those three appearances.

Is Kidd the most exciting trainer on the market? Maybe not, but he has solid experience and was a great player who could be a good mentor to Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

(Fake images)

Lloyd Pierce

  • More recent: Hawks head coach
  • Head coach experience? Yes

Pierce is the other candidate that Haynes reported would be a candidate for the Boston coaching job. He has a very different resume than Kidd, having only had a four-year playing career and never made it to the NBA.

However, Pierce found his niche in player development with the Cavaliers during the 2007-2010 seasons. From there, he would work with the Warriors, Grizzlies, and 76ers and help young players find their balance and win spots in the NBA. Most notably with the 76ers, he was part of the staff who developed Joel Embiid. And in Philadelphia, Pierce began to play a bigger role in defense during his later years.

MORE: How does LeBron James want to perform in Game 6?

Pierce’s more than two-year tenure in Atlanta did not go as planned. He was only 63-120 as a coach, but he is only 45 years old and had a strong relationship with the players and coaches there. The ownership group just wanted to see if Nate McMillan could catalyze the underperforming Hawks, which he did.

Pierce may be a good fit for the Celtics, as he could help develop the great pool of young talents the team has, including Tatum, Brown, Payton Pritchard, Romeo Langford, Grant Williams and Aaron Nesmith, among others. That could give him an edge over the competition, provided Stevens believes Pierce’s poor record with the Hawks was a fluke.

(AP Photo)

Becky hammon

  • Current job: Spurs assistant coach
  • Head coach experience? Not

Could Stevens become the first NBA general manager to hire a coach? Before a Celtics game in late April, she spoke about how “the day would come very soon” for a woman to head an NBA bench. And during that interview, he spoke well of Hammon.

“Becky, obviously, is an excellent candidate,” Stevens said, according to NBC Sports Boston. “I don’t know her well, but I know what people think of her, and I know how well players and coaches respect her throughout the league.”

So it looks like Hammon is someone Stevens would at least be interested in interviewing for the job. He had a very successful career in the WNBA and has learned from one of the best in the business, Gregg Popovich, so it seems like a sensible target.

(Fake images)

Jay larranaga

  • Current job: Celtics assistant coach
  • Head coach experience? Not

Larranaga has been with the Celtics since the 2012 season and was one of Stevens’ best assistants during his final years as a coach. With Stevens accepting a promotion, it seems only natural that he should at least interview Larranaga to see if he should get one as well.

The son of Miami coach Jim Larranaga, who led George Mason to the Final Four during the 2006 NCAA Tournament, the young Larranaga spent 12 years as a basketball player abroad. He is well regarded in the Celtics organization and was interviewed as a possible replacement option in 2013 when Rivers left the team.

He has also previously been interviewed by Georgia Tech and George Mason for coaching vacancies.

Larranaga would provide a new voice familiar with the team. Whether that’s what Boston is looking for remains to be seen, but Stevens knows Larranaga very well, so don’t be surprised if he at least gets an interview.

(Fake images)

Sam cassell

  • Current job: 76ers assistant coach
  • Head coach experience? Not

Cassell was a key substitute on the 2008 Celtics championship-winning team and remained with the organization until he was traded during the ’08 -’09 season. Almost immediately after retiring in 2009, he joined Flip Saunders’ coaching staff with the Wizards. There he wet his feet for a handful of years before moving on.

In 2014, Cassell joined Doc Rivers’ coaching staff with the Clippers. Since then, he has served as an assistant on Rivers’ staff and has established himself as a solid and respected coach.

If the Celtics want to remove someone from Rivers’ coaching tree, Cassell would be a logical choice. He has experience in Boston and was loved in the locker room for his entire career. And well, the teams he’s helped manage Rivers haven’t been bad either.

Getty

Chauncey billups

  • Current job: Clippers assistant coach
  • Head coach experience? Not

Billups was drafted by the Celtics in 1997 before the ever-impatient Rick Pitino traded him during his rookie season. Billups ended up playing on seven different teams during his NBA career and was a five-time All-Star and was the Finals MVP during the 2004 season when he was with the Pistons.

Billups doesn’t have a lot of coaching experience. In fact, he’s in his first year as Tyronn Lue’s assistant with the Clippers. However, he was considered a sharp mind for basketball; he just took the media route before he started training.

Is it too early for Billups to be considered a head coach? Maybe, but he’s a smart ex-player, and we’ve seen teams like the Nets take on ex-point guards Kidd and Steve Nash with no experience. Maybe Stevens could follow that trend if he believes in Billups.

(Fake images)

Kenny atkinson

  • Current job: Clippers assistant coach
  • Head coach experience? Yes

Two Clippers assistant coaches on the same roster? You gamble.

Atkinson’s overall record as a coach may not be impressive (he was 118-190 in more than three seasons in Brooklyn), but considering the talent shortage he had on those teams, his performances were impressive. He got a team of D’Angelo Russell, Caris LeVert, Joe Harris, Jarrett Allen and Spencer Dinwiddie into the Eastern Conference playoffs with a 42-40 record and helped countless players develop along the way.

MORE: Austin Rivers thought defending sizzling Damian Lillard was “fun”

And then what happened? As the team struggled to hit a record below .500 the following year with the biggest signings of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant without major parts of the year, the two sides chose to separate. As such, Atkinson made himself available and decided to work as an assistant with the Clippers.

Atkinson could be an ideal choice to help develop Langford, Williams, Nesmith, Pritchard and other role players on the Celtics. He’s similar to the aforementioned Pierce, so it will be interesting to see if they both attract consideration for the role.

fake images

Juwan Howard

  • Current job: Michigan Head Coach
  • Head coach experience? Yes

The last NBA coach hired at Michigan, John Beilein, did not perform as well. But Howard is very different from the 68-year-old coach who lasted just one season with the Cavaliers.

Howard played 19 seasons in the NBA and won two championships at the end of his career (2012 and 2013). So what about the All-Star back in 1996?

Howard has since become a respected assistant under Eric Spoelstra with the heat before taking a coaching job at Michigan. He led the Wolverines to a Big Ten title in 2021, his second year on the job, and was named Sporting News Coach of the Year for his efforts.

Howard looks like a strong college coach who could easily jump into the NBA, just like Stevens did in 2013. But would Howard leave Michigan? That is the big question. given the job security you have there. So that could affect any decision to pursue him.

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