ESPN Sources: Celtics president Brad Stevens has started to get permission to speak to head coaching candidates, including with assistants Chauncey Billups (Clippers), Darvin Ham and Charles Lee (Bucks), Jamahl Mosley (Mavericks) and Ime Udoka (Nets).— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 9, 2021
Per several reports, Stevens has already completed interviews with internal candidates from his former coaching staff. This list includes Jay Larranaga, Jerome Allen, Joe Mazzulla and Scott Morrison.
Now, Stevens has turned to a list of highly thought of assistant coaches. At the top of the list is former Celtics player Chauncey Billups. In 1997, Boston drafted Billups third overall. He was traded in the middle of his rookie season to the Toronto Raptors. After Billups retired as a player, he was linked to several front office and coaching jobs. He’s currently serving as an assistant coach to Ty Lue with the LA Clippers.
Darvin Ham retired from playing in 2005 following an 8-year NBA career. He’s currently an assistant coach for Mike Budenholzer with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Charles Lee is also on the Bucks staff. His playing career was relatively short, but he’s advanced up the assistant ranks fairly quickly.
Jamahl Mosley has been linked to several openings over the past few years, while he’s worked alongside Rick Carlisle with the Dallas Mavericks. He’s widely expected to land his first head coaching opportunity sometime in the near future.
Ime Udoka retired from playing in 2012 and first came to prominence on Gregg Popovich’s staff in San Antonio. He’s currently an assistant coach to first-year head coach Steve Nash with the Brooklyn Nets.
These five candidates, as well as the Boston assistants, make up part of a pool of 20-25 names that have linked to the Celtics opening. It’s expected that Stevens will cast a wide net for his replacement on the sidelines. This initial report includes all assistant coaches, but Stevens is expected to consider some former head coaches as well.
Currently, Boston is joined by the Indiana Pacers, Orlando Magic and Portland Trail Blazers with open head coach jobs. The Pacers and Trail Blazers are both expected to compete for the playoffs in 2021-22, while the Magic are kicking off a rebuild. At this point, it’s unknown who Indiana, Orlando and Portland have interviewed for their openings.
It’s been rumored that Stevens could also wait for the playoffs to progress further to see if any current head coaches are relieved of their duties. Boston is seen as an attractive job around the NBA due to the presence of young All-Stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Both players are also signed long-term, which could give a new coach some immediate stability at the top of his roster.