Celtics’ Hopes of Adding Rival Assistant Remain Intact After Raptors Decision

Charles Lee

Getty Associate head coach Charles Lee of the Milwaukee Bucks

The Boston Celtics may have just potentially caught a break thanks to their division rival, the Toronto Raptors. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on June 10 that the Raptors have hired Memphis Grizzlies assistant coach Darko Rajakovic as their next head coach.

This could be big news for the Celtics for two reasons. One, the Celtics were looking into hiring Lee as an assistant on Joe Mazzulla’s staff, as reported by NBA Insider Jake Fischer on the June 5 episode of “Good Word with Goodwill.”

“I heard Charles Lee, the Bucks assistant, who’s been involved in all these head coaching searches, is someone that Boston’s trying to target here,” Fischer said. “They’re clearly looking at veteran, respected dudes. Boston’s not messing around trying to upgrade the staff and add some veteran talent.”

Two, Heavy Sports’ Steve Bulpett reported on his personal Twitter that Lee was considered for the Raptors head coaching gig.

With Rajkovic hired by the Raptors, there are no more vacant head coaching positions at the moment. There have been no further developments on the Celtics’ pursuit of Lee, but that could change.

Suns Interested in Payton Pritchard

Plenty of changes could be coming to the Celtics this summer, including what they do with Payton Pritchard. Should the Celtics look to trade Pritchard, Fischer reported on June 9 that the Phoenix Suns are among the teams who have some interest in Pritchard.

“Payton Pritchard, the former first-round pick who fell out of Boston’s rotation, has several supporters in Phoenix’s front office,” Fischer wrote on June 9. “(He) is expected to feature prominently in the NBA’s general trade landscape this summer when Pritchard becomes extension eligible.”

The Suns’ interest in Pritchard could be of use to the Celtics since The Athletic’s Jay King reported on June 1 that the Celtics guard wants to be on a new team.

“With the new onerous CBA rules looming after next season, the front office will likely have to decide in the next 12 months whether it can afford its expensive veteran depth. Payton Pritchard has made it clear he hopes to be traded this summer, according to multiple team sources, so will the Celtics move him if they trade one of their core guards?”

While Pritchard may want out, and the Suns would be interested, the Celtics may not simply fork him over without something valuable in return.

Celtics Considered Top Trade Destination for Chris Paul

Following Shams Charania’s report that the Suns are exploring their options with Chris Paul, Dan Favale of Bleacher Report listed the Celtics among the top trade destinations for Paul.

“CP3 would be the perfect addition for an offense that, despite ranking third in half-court efficiency, too often descended into turbulence,” Favale wrote. “There is inherent variability when teams depend on the three-ball as much as the Celtics do, but they are too easily nudged away from their best practices and into turnover tumults when shots aren’t falling, or the rate of play slows.”

The Suns and Celtics could discuss a trade involving Paul and Pritchard, but obviously, it would require more salary involved to get a trade done.

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