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“According to my sources, right now, there are two names that have really emerged, and one of them we don’t know if the Celtics can get, which is Chauncey Billups,” Goodman said via NBC Sports Boston. “He’s also in the equation for Portland. Maybe in the equation, as well, in New Orleans. The other name that’s hot right now is Ime Idoka, the Nets assistant coach.”
Are The Celtics Chauncey Billups’ First Choice?
After being eliminated in a best-of-7 series against a short-handed Denver Nuggets team, disgruntled Portland Trail Blazer All-Star Damian Lillard let the Trail Blazers know that it is time for a new head coach. In fact, he let everyone know via social media — which was where fans read Lillard’s wish of seeing Hall of Fame point guard Jason Kidd become his new head coach.
Los Angeles Clippers assistant coach Chauncey Billups, who’s considered to be a strong candidate for Portland’s vacant head coaching position, could turn out to be a great compromise for Lillard in lieu of Los Angeles assistant coach Jason Kidd. However, for the Celtics, Brooklyn Nets assistant coach Ime Idoka may be the ideal fit.
Ime Idoka ‘Emerges’ as Frontrunner for Celtics
Idoka’s unique background in connection with Celtics stars Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart extends back to China in August 2019. And, his extensive coaching experience, includes seven seasons under the tutelage of San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich.
“He’s been in San Antonio. He’s a guy who coached Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart a few years ago in 2019 in the World Championships,” Goodman added. “Those guys have kind of not gone to bat for him, but certainly spoken highly of Idoka. He’s interviewed multiple times for the Celtics.”
Udoka is also a former NBA player and someone who Goodman says he’s hearing could be the kind of coach these Celtics need right now.
“I talked to somebody who’s been with him for an extended period of time, earlier today,” Goodman said. “They described him as a guy with an edge. Not a hard-ass. But, a guy with an edge, defensive-minded, tough, adaptable, young; can really connect with the players. Obviously, he’s not a big name but I don’t think Brad Stevens feels like he has to go into this and get a big name.”
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski mentioned both Billups and Udoka in his initial report on potential candidates outside of the Celtics’ internal pool of assistant coaches.