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Rumor: Celtics, Blazers have interest in D’Antoni as coach

Michael Holley and Michael Smith both respect Damian Lillard's commitment to the Portland Trail Blazers even after multiple first-round exits in the NBA Playoffs.

Along with Jason Kidd, if there was one name to bet on coming up everywhere once coaching vacancies started to open up, it was Mike D’Antoni.

Sure enough, the first rumors of teams — the Celtics, Trail Blazers, and Magic — wanting to talk to D’Antoni about their coaching vacancies have circulated. This time it’s via Jordan Shultz of ESPN.

This was both expected and something that will drag on for a while because D’Antoni is busy as Steve Nash’s right hand in Brooklyn, and it looks like he could be working in that role until mid-July.

D’Antoni has been a coach that pushed the boundaries and changed the game wherever he went. In Phoenix, it was with pace and a “seven seconds or less” offense — led by Nash — that proved to be the forerunner of the modern NBA. In Houston, it was turning the entire offense over to James Harden in isolation and taking advantage of a unique talent.

Could D’Antoni get more out of Damian Lillard and the offense in Portland? More out of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and the potential in Boston? Could he win more in either location?

D’Antoni will be in the mix for all those jobs and others that still may open up. The rumors around him are just starting.