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 21: Brad Stevens plans to consult with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown
Per The Athletic’s Jay King, the Celtics are looking for a coach with playing experience, and all indications point to the team pursuing a person of color for the role. The three candidates who were reportedly called back for a second interview — Chauncey Billups, Ime Udoka and Darvin Ham — have all played in the NBA.
Per King, the Celtics will also consult with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown before making a final decision.
“Pushing Tatum and Brown to another level will be a huge part of the coaching job and could ultimately determine whether the next coach is successful,” King wrote.
June 18: Three candidates stand out. Rick Carlisle not one of them.
ESPN is reporting that the Clippers’ Chauncey Billups, the Nets’ Ime Udoka, and the Bucks’ Darvin Ham are on the Celtics’ short list.
All three have reportedly interviewed once, and Brad Stevens hopes to bring them in for second interviews.
Udoka, who was an assistant for the U.S. national team in the 2019 FIBA World Cup, has “received strong reviews” from Celtics players who were on that team, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart – as well as now ex-Celtic Kemba Walker – were a part of that team.
All three assistants are still in the playoffs.
The Celtics believe they have “three or four” strong candidates for the role, the Boston Herald’s Mark Murphy reported Friday. Rick Carlisle, who left his job as Mavericks head coach on Thursday, isn’t one of them, Murphy added.
June 17: Rick Carlisle steps down in Dallas
Rick Carlisle stepped down as coach of the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday, the second major departure for that franchise in as many days.
Carlisle spent 13 seasons in Dallas, leading the Mavericks to the 2011 NBA title. His decision was announced one day after general manager Donnie Nelson and the team agreed to part ways, ending a 24-year run for Nelson as part of the organization.
“This was solely my decision,” Carlisle said in a statement released to ESPN shortly before the team announced that he was leaving.
Dallas becomes the seventh team with an coaching vacancy, joining New Orleans, Washington, Orlando, Indiana, Portland — and Boston, where Carlisle played for the team that won the 1986 NBA title.
June 16: More coaching vacancies
You can add the Pelicans and the Wizards to the list of teams looking for a new coach next season. That brings the number of vacancies up to six.
Stan Van Gundy is out following just one season at the helm in New Orleans, leading the Pelicans to a 31-41 record. Scott Brooks will not return as coach of the Washington Wizards after five seasons with only one playoff series victory in 2017 to show for his tenure.
June 14: Take your time
A source told the Globe that the Celtics haven’t yet whittled their prospective coach list to a group of finalists.
The search could go on for a few more weeks, the source said, and could be slowed down a bit because several candidates are still coaching in the playoffs.
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:
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.