Celtics

15 names the Celtics might consider as coaching replacements for Brad Stevens

Boston could consider some familiar faces and some outside-the-box options.

Could Jay Larranaga be considered for the Celtics' coaching job. AP Photo/Elise Amendola

The Celtics will open their search for a new head coach to replace Brad Stevens in the next few days, starting with internal candidates before branching out to coaches around the basketball world.

Stevens was promoted to President of Basketball Operations on Wednesday when Danny Ainge stepped down.

“I’m looking forward to really diving into this process,” Stevens said. “I think the good news about whoever we hire, they don’t have to fill Doc Rivers’ shoes like I did, and they don’t have to fill Danny Ainge’s shoes now like I do. The good news is they just have to figure out a way to be better than the last guy.”

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Who might the Celtics choose to try to improve on Stevens’ tenure? Here are a few options.

Jay Larranaga – Larranaga has been tied to coaching vacancies around the league in the past, including the New York Knicks and Charlotte Hornets. He worked extensively with Jayson Tatum the last two years and has been with the Celtics’ organization for years.

Jerome Allen – The Undefeated’s Marc Spears noted that Allen, currently a Celtics assistant, could be a candidate. Allen was the head coach at Penn until 2015 and has a good relationship with several players.

Kara Lawson – A popular choice among Celtics fans online, Lawson has an excellent relationship with several members of the team and drew high praise from Stevens when she got her current job as the head coach of Duke women’s basketball.

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“Kara Lawson is a star,” Stevens said in April. “We couldn’t hardly keep her here.”

David Vanterpool – Vanterpool has been named in several coaching searches and appears to be a rising star as an assistant coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves. He has interviewed for several head coaching roles dating back to 2013.

Becky Hammon – Another rising star in the coaching ranks and another popular option among Celtics fans, Hammon became Gregg Popovich’s lead assistant this past season. Stevens called Hammon a “terrific candidate” for a head coaching role in April.

Jason Kidd – Kidd has been a candidate for multiple head coaching roles around the league and has had two head coaching jobs — in Brooklyn and Milwaukee. Chris Haynes reported Kidd is expected to be a candidate in Boston, but he seems like an unlikely choice given his lack of success at previous stops.

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Chauncey Billups – Billups is a popular coaching possibility around the league. The former All-Star is currently an assistant coach for the Clippers and has been mentioned in Celtics rumors.

Lloyd Pierce – Pierce was fired as coach of the Atlanta Hawks this past season to make room for Nate McMillan. Stevens praised Pierce profusely, calling him “an unbelievable coach.”

“When I turn on games I learn something every time I watch his team play,” Stevens said. “And then on top of that, the kind of person he is, the leader he is, the impact he’s had on and off the court … He’s going to be in high, high demand all around the NBA.”

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Nate McMillan – McMillan previously was the head coach of the Indiana Pacers before becoming the current coach of the Atlanta Hawks. McMillan and the Hawks are a nice pairing and he might not be interested in moving on, but ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski suggested that some coaches whose teams are currently playing might have interest in the Celtics job.

“I think we all recognize how good of a coach he was – the physicality, the effort level, the cutting, the screening, the execution,” Stevens said of McMillan last season.

Sam Cassell – Cassell is another former Celtic considered a likely head coach at some point. He is currently an assistant coach for Doc Rivers in Philadelphia.

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Ime Udoka – Like several others, Udoka — a former player — is considered a high-level coaching prospect. He is currently on the Nets bench alongside Steve Nash.

Kenny Atkinson – When Atkinson was fired as coach of the Nets to make room for Steve Nash, most observers expected him to be a head coach sooner rather than later. Atkinson’s teams in Brooklyn always seemed to overachieve.

Mike D’Antoni – D’Antoni became an assistant coach for the Brooklyn Nets after he parted ways with the Houston Rockets. One of the best offensive coaches in NBA history, D’Antoni has earned a lot of cache around the league.

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Jerry Stackhouse – Stackhouse, who is currently the head coach at Vanderbilt, is considered a candidate to make the jump from college basketball to the NBA. His combination of coaching and playing experience could make him an intriguing option.

Someone nobody sees coming – Could the Celtics shock the basketball world yet again with their next coaching hire? Stevens certainly has an extensive coaching rolodex and might have a few out-of-the-box options in mind. If so, he would emulate his predecessor — Ainge hired Stevens seemingly out of nowhere in 2013 to replace Doc Rivers.

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