Celtics Eyeing 2-Time NBA Coach of the Year to Fill Head Coach Vacancy: Report

Celtics interested in Mike D'Antoni

Getty Mike D'Antoni of the Houston Rockets looks on against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the first quarter in Game Four of the Western Conference First Round during the 2020 NBA Playoffs.

Looks as if we can add yet another name to the list of potential Boston Celtics‘ head coaching candidates. According to ESPN’s Jordan Schultz, Brooklyn Nets assistant coach Mike D’Antoni has drawn interest from the Celtics, as well as the Portland Trail Blazers and Orlando Magic for their coach vacancies.

D’Antoni, 70, has enjoyed quite an illustrious NBA coaching career, albeit never guiding a team past the conference finals over 16 years as a head coach. Originally getting his feet wet with the Denver Nuggets in 1998, the West Virginia native went on to capture two NBA Coach of the Year honors; first in 2005 with the Phoneix Suns and more recently in 2017 with the Houston Rockets. D’Antoni had also manned head coaching gigs with the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers prior to joining Steve Nash’s staff in Brooklyn this season as an assistant. Overall, he’s accumulated a record of 672-527 (.560 winning percentage) with 10 playoff appearances over his NBA head coaching tenure.

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Nets Will Grant Interview Requests for D’Antoni — Eventually

If the Celtics do ultimately decide they want to bring in D’Antoni, they may be waiting for quite a while. Per Schultz, the Nets will grant interview requests for D’Antoni, but not until after the conclusion of the playoffs. Considering Brooklyn currently holds a 2-0 series lead over the Milwaukee Bucks and look like legitimate title contenders, Boston’s coaching search could be exponentially prolonged.

Since moving upstairs into a front-office role, Brad Stevens has certainly been vocal about the team needing a new voice at head coach. D’Antoni — whose calling card is of course his offensive genius — would certainly present a different approach from the helm. Of course, defense has always been somewhat of a punchline when it comes to D’Antoni’s coaching prowess. With that said, were he to take over in Boston, he’d be inheriting a team that has finished with a top-six defensive rating over five of the last six years.

Stevens on Filling the Head Coach Vacancy

D’Antoni is simply the latest in a laundry list of perceived candidates for the gig in Boston. Fellow Nets assistant Jason Kidd is expected to interview for the vacancy, while Former Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce is also likely to be in the running. Chancey Billups, Sam Cassell and Kara Lawson — all of whom have history with the organization in some capacity — are also believed to be among legitimate candidates for the job.

The good news for whoever takes over in Boston, they apparently won’t have nearly as difficult of a job as Stevens was tasked with back in 2013.

“I’m looking forward to really diving into this process,” Stevens said, via Boston.com. “I think the good news about whoever we hire, they don’t have to fill Doc Rivers’s shoes like I did, and they don’t have to fill Danny Ainge’s shoes now like I do. The good news is they just have to figure out a way to be better than the last guy.”

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