Celtics

Who will be next Celtics coach? Potential replacements for Stevens

Celtics

It's the first day of the Celtics' offseason, and Boston needs a new head coach.

Danny Ainge retired from the team Tuesday while Brad Stevens assumed Ainge's role as Celtics president of basketball operations. It's a massive shakeup for Boston, which lost its first-round playoff series to the Brooklyn Nets in five games after finishing a disappointing 36-36 this season.

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The Celtics announced their search for a new head coach will begin "immediately." So, who could they look to bring in? Here's a list of internal candidates and 10 outside candidates who either have been linked to Boston in reports or could make sense for the C's based on their backgrounds.

Internal candidates: Jerome Allen, Jay Larranaga, Scott Morrison

Larranaga, who joined the Celtics in 2012, is the team's longest-tenured coach and even predates Stevens, who arrived in 2013. Allen and Morrison have been with Boston since 2015 and 2017, respectively, so these three would be the favorites if the Celtics choose the internal route -- which is where they'll begin their search, per Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix.

Lloyd Pierce, former head coach, Atlanta Hawks

Pierce is expected to be in the mix for the Celtics job, per Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes. He spent two-plus seasons as the Hawks' head coach before he was fired on March 1 and had been an assistant coach since 2007 at several NBA stops before coming to Atlanta. He was 63-120 during his time with the Hawks.

 

Jason Kidd, assistant coach, Los Angeles Lakers

Kidd also is expected to be a Celtics candidate, according to Haynes. The Basketball Hall of Famer spent one season as the Brooklyn Nets' head coach and three-plus seasons as the Milwaukee Bucks' head coach but didn't find much success at either stop, compiling a record of 183-190 and 9-15 in the playoffs.

Sam Cassell, assistant coach, Philadelphia 76ers

Well-respected as a player, Cassell joined the Celtics in March 2008 and won an NBA title during his final full season. He served as an unofficial assistant to head coach Doc Rivers while in Boston and currently serves on Rivers' staff in Philly.

Chauncey Billups, assistant coach, Los Angeles Clippers

Billups lasted just one season with the Celtics as a player after they took him third overall in the 1997 NBA Draft, but perhaps he'd give the C's another shot after recently leaving his ESPN analyst role to join the NBA coaching world. Yahoo Sports' Vincent Goodwill lists Billups as an expected candidate for the Boston job.

Juwan Howard, head coach, Michigan

Howard just finished his second season at his alma mater, but Stadium's Jeff Goodman noted he should be on the Celtics' radar if he considers leaving Ann Arbor. Howard won two NBA titles with the Heat and spent the 2013 to 2019 seasons as an assistant coach in Miami.

Becky Hammon, assistant coach, San Antonio Spurs

Hammon is the top assistant of Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, who shares plenty of mutual respect with Stevens. The Celtics could make history by making Hammon the NBA's first female head coach. Will Hardy, who attended Williams College in Massachusetts, is another name to watch on the Spurs' staff. 

Ime Udoka, assistant coach, Brooklyn Nets

Mannix also reports Udoka will be in the running for the Celtics job. Udoka was an assistant for Popovich from 2013 to 2019 before joining the Sixers in 2019 and leaving for the Nets in 2020.

Kara Lawson, head coach, Duke women's basketball

Lawson spent one year as a Celtics assistant coach before taking the Duke job in July 2020 and is highly respected in Boston. In fact, ex-Celtic Brian Scalabrine believes Lawson could be the team's best candidate.

Kendrick Perkins, NBC Sports Boston analyst, former Celtics center

Perkins was a fan favorite during his eight seasons in Boston and could help bring the edge the Celtics seemed to lack this season. The 36-year-old reportedly was offered an assistant coach role with the Cleveland Cavaliers last December.

Kevin Garnett, former Celtics forward

There's been plenty of buzz about the Celtics bringing KG back as a head coach, but here's what the Hall of Famer said in 2015 when asked if he'd consider coaching:

"Hell nah. A coach is what I won’t be. You can’t talk me into that."