- The Boston Celtics announced the departure of long time President Danny Ainge.
- Ainge’s replacement will be current Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.
- This leaves the Celtics with an opening at head coach, and a lot of options to fill it.
LAS VEGAS - The Boston Celtics shocked the basketball world with the announcement that President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge would be moving on after decades with the Celtics.
His replacement will be Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, who has been with the organization since 2013, and consistently recommitted to Boston despite other offers.
This is something of a surprise, not just because Ainge wasn’t expected to leave, but because many expected Mike Zarren, the Celtics’ cap wizard, to be the next GM/PBO of the team.
I simply can't express how thankful I am for having been able to work with @danielrainge. As good a boss and friend as anyone could ever hope to have. Could write a book in appreciation of all the amazing & ridiculous moments we shared, & it still wouldn't be enough. Thanks DA.☘️
— Mike Zarren (@mikezarren) June 2, 2021
Even more unexpected was the move from Stevens, jumping from coach to President of Basketball Operations to replace Ainge.
While Stevens does seem to be the hand-picked successor to Ainge, the move leaves a major spot to be filled in the Celtics organization - that of head coach.
Stevens would likely have been the most sought after coach on the open market, which raises the question of how his coaching contributions could be replaced.
The online sportsbooks have some ideas, but none of them are below +300 odds, meaning that no prohibitive favorites have emerged as of yet.
Next Boston Celtics Head Coach
- Jay Larranaga +300
- Jason Kidd +500
- Chauncey Billups +600
- Lloyd Pierce +600
- Sam Cassell +700
- Ime Udoka +1000
- Kenny Atkinson +1000
- Alvin Gentry +1200
- Jarron Collins +1200
- Nate NcMillan +1200
- Becky Hammon +1400
- Jeff Van Gundy +1400
- Mike D'Antoni +1400
- David Vanterpool +1600
- Coach K +3300
- Chris Holtmann +5000
- Larry Bird +5000
- Tony Bennett +5000
- Rick Pitino +10000
At the top of the odds boards is Jay Larranaga, the current top assistant coach of the Celtics. Larranaga has been with the organization since 2012, and was actually interviewed for the 2013 job opening that Stevens wound up with.
He’s been considered for serious job openings at the college level, having turned down both Georgia Tech and George Mason in order to stay with the Celtics.
Larranaga’s promotion would fit the theme of promoting from inside, and a weak outside coaching class seems to bolster his chances as well.
Jason Kidd seems to be the headliner of that weak class. Kidd, currently with the Los Angeles Lakers, was previously head coach of the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks.
His stint with the Bucks was not particularly successful, with his replacement, Mike Budenholzer, almost immediately taking the Bucks to the next level, where Kidd had failed to do so.
Chauncey Billips is sitting at +600, just behind Kidd. Billups is an NBA veteran, who won a championship as a player with the Detroit Pistons in 2004.
Currently, he’s an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Clippers, a position he’s held for less than a year.
Jumping into a head coaching scenario would be a big leap for him, but he is third on these odds boards.
Below Billups are Lloyd Pierce, Sam Cassell, Ime Udoka and Kenny Atkinson, all intriguing coaching prospects, although Atkinson bears special mention.
Forced out of Brooklyn when Kevin Durant made his decision to join the team, Atkinson demonstrated legitimate tactical aptitude with limited pieces when coaching the Nets.
In a way, he’s the most Stevens-like hire available.
As for the biggest underdog on the odds boards, let’s just say that Rick Pitino isn’t walking through that door.
Online gamblers can wager on the next head coach of the Celtics at the online sportsbooks, and should be sure to shop lines when doing so.