Celtics Target Former NBA Champion Coach For Assistant Role

Joe Mazzulla, Boston Celtics

Getty Joe Mazzulla, Boston Celtics

Joe Mazzulla has stepped into an interim head coaching role with the Boston Celtics, following the suspension of Ime Udoka, and it looks like Brad Stevens is trying to add some additional experience to the staff before the season begins.

According to a September 30 report by Marc Stein, via his Steinline Newsletter, Bost holds an interest in former Los Angeles Lakers coach Frank Vogel – although they’re pessimistic on their ability to convince him to accept an assistant role on Mazzulla’s staff.

“Coaching sources say that the Celts are likewise interested in two of the top available former head coaches — Frank Vogel and Terry Stotts — but pessimistic about their chances of luring either to usher the unproven Mazzulla through this massive step up onto the big stage. Mazzulla’s only head coaching experience to date came at Division II Fairmont State and this season was scheduled to be his first as a front-of-the-bench assistant in the NBA until Udoka’s suspension earned Mazzulla this unlikely promotion into the Boston hot seat,” Stein wrote.

Vogel would bring a vast amount of coaching experience to Mazzulla’s staff, having started his career as a Celtics assistant in 2001, spending a further three seasons with the team before stops with the Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers. Four years after joining the Pacers as an assistant, Vogel was promoted to Indiana’s head coach and amassed 431 games coached, winning 250 of them.

Vogel has also had spells in charge of the Orlando Magic (two years) and Los Angeles Lakers (three years) – winning an NBA championship with the Lakers in 2020.

Jay Larranaga Rejects Celtics Return

Shortly after Mazzulla was promoted to his new role within the Celtics, Brad Stevens was reported to have reach out to the LA Clippers, in an attempt to convince former assistant coach, Jay Larranaga to return in a similar capacity.

However, according to Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix, Larranaga has decided to continue his coaching career with the Clippers, working under the impressive Ty Lue, as he bids to help the Western Conference franchise win their first ever championship now that Kawhi Leonard is finally ready to get back on the court.

Larranaga spent nine years with the Celtics before moving to the Clippers last summer, and it would seem that he’s happy with his current role on the West Coast.

Jayson Tatum: ‘We All Respect Joe’

Speaking to the media following a September 29 practice, Jayson Tatum was asked about how the team is adapting to Mazzulla operating as their head coach, to which the St. Louis native noted that ‘he’s still the same guy.’

“Consistency has been good. Once we stepped out onto the court, it felt normal. Felt natural just to get out here, get back to it, and I feel like that’s been beneficial to everyone…Joe’s been good, it’s not like he’s a new addition, just in a new position. He hasn’t changed his character, still the same guy, a guy that everybody respects…It probably takes some time to get used to, being the voice – especially all of a sudden, but he’s been doing a great job,” Tatum said.

VideoVideo related to celtics target former nba champion coach for assistant role2022-09-30T16:44:48-04:00

One thing that is currently going in Boston’s favor is that Mazzulla has been with the team for three years already, and enjoys a solid relationship with the entire roster – so hopefully, the teething issues of getting his players to buy into his vision will be minimal.

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