The morning following their playoff exit, the Boston Celtics sent shockwaves throughout the NBA landscape with the news that Brad Stevens would be moving on from his coaching duties to man the front office role left behind by the now-retired Danny Ainge.
Stevens is expected to lead the search for his replacement, and potential candidates have already begun to roll in. Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes has reported that Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Jason Kidd and former Atlanta Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce are expected to be in the running. SportsLine has given former Celtics champion Sam Cassell the best odds to take the helm in Boston. While fans have taken to social media pleading for the team to hire Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett for the gig.
While all those names are certainly intriguing, NBC Sports Boston’s Brian Scalabrine believes when the coaching search is all said and done, the team will be taking a different route entirely — one that no team in NBA history has ever taken.
“I think they’re gonna hire Kara Lawson,” Scalabrine said. “I know the organization thinks that she’s unbelievable. I know that the players respect her when she went down to Duke to coach the women’s team there. I mean, I’m just putting A + B = C to me — I think they hire Kara Lawson.”
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Lawson Would Be the 1st Full-Time Female HC in NBA History
While the significance that would come with such a hire is undeniable, Scalabrine warns against those who might be quick to pigeonhole the former WNBA Champion and Olympic Gold medalist.
“She’s insanely good as a coach. It’s not one of those things where she’s good for a female. No, no, no. She walked into practice and she commanded practice right from the jump. she was giving people tips and people’s jaws were dropping. She’s elite at what she does,” Scalabrine said. “I don’t even want to go down the road of saying this would be a historic hire. I think she might be the most qualified for the job. When you think about these players and who they already know and you’re bringing somebody that Brad respects and the players respect. I mean, it makes the most sense.”
Lawson Previously Served on the Celtics’ Coaching Staff
Lawson, who joined the Celtics staff as an assistant in 2019, was one of the first women to break into the NBA coaching ranks, following in the footsteps of Becky Hammon (another name floated as a potential Cs candidate) as well as Jenny Boucek and Lindsay Gottlieb. A year later she was named the head coach of the Duke Women’s basketball team. Yet, due to fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, her stint as head coach lasted just four games before the team opted to cancel the season.
While Scalabrine did highlight Lawson’s limited head coaching resume as a potential drawback, he believes she ultimately has what it takes to get the job done at the highest level. And by the sound of it, he’s not alone in that assumption, as she clearly won over those in the Celtics’ building during her time in Beantown.
“I thought from the jump she has head coaching material within five minutes of talking with her,” Scalabrine proclaimed. “That’s just me meeting her on my own and then I started asking the other coaches about her. It was like, authentically, they were like, she is on a completely different level as a basketball coach.”