The Boston Celtics are still in the process of getting back to normal after the team announced that they would be suspending head coach Ime Udoka for the entirety of the upcoming season. He had a relationship with a team staffer that was deemed to be a violation of the organization’s code of conduct.
In turn, with Udoka’s suspension, the team appointed Joe Mazzulla as the interim head coach. He will be taking over for the upcoming season at just 34 years old. However, they could be looking to add additional coaches to his staff before the start of the year.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the team is looking for permission to speak with LA Clippers assistant Jay Larranaga. They want to bring him back to Boston to be a member of Mazzulla’s staff for this season.
“The Celtics are seeking permission to talk to Clippers assistant Jay Larranaga about joining interim coach Joe Mazzulla’s staff this season, sources tell ESPN. Larranaga spent nine seasons with Celtics before joining the Clippers in 2021,” Wojnarowski tweeted.
As noted by Wojnarowski, Larranaga was previously a member of the Celtics coaching staff. He joined the team in 2012 and was even interviewed for the head coaching position when Doc Rivers left the team in 2013. Obviously, Brad Stevens got that job, but Larranaga joined his staff. He was Stevens’ lead assistant for seven years up until Udoka came to Boston.
Larranaga and the Celtics parted ways when Udoka came to town, but he and Mazzulla worked together for two seasons prior to that. And although it’s not an ideal situation, Mazzulla explained how he plans on dealing with the current circumstances.
Mazzulla Discusses Udoka Situation
At Celtics Media Day, Mazzulla got the chance to speak to the media for the first time since being named the interim head coach of the Celtics. When asked about the Udoka situation, he said that the most important thing to do will be to give people time and space to heal.
“The message is, first, to give people space and time,” Mazzulla said. “Not just for the players but for everybody. It’s an unfortunate situation for everybody involved, so you have to give people the time and space to feel and the time and space to heal. And so, that’s key. You can’t rush anything.”
However, he also expressed unwavering confidence in the team Boston currently has.
Mazzulla Confident in Celtics Players
Losing Udoka will definitely affect the Celtics this upcoming season, but they still have all the players they did last year when they went on a run to the NBA Finals. He said that they know what formula works now and just have to stick to it.
“The great thing about this organization, the players that we have, and the season last year – we have a formula for what we know we need to do in order to get better every single day and get back to where we want to get to. And so, as much as we can focus on that, we’ll be in good shape,” Mazzulla said.
Adding Larranaga to the staff would give Mazzulla and Stevens another familiar face to work with, and with how tough the current situation is, any little thing could help.