Celtics ‘Speaking to’ Stars Through Recent Coaching Hires: Analyst

Charles Lee, Boston Celtics

Getty Charles Lee, Boston Celtics

On June 11, the Boston Celtics hired former Milwaukee Bucks associate head coach Charles Lee to their coaching staff, as reported by ESPN’S Adrian Wojnarowski. 

According to John Karalis, who was speaking on a bonus episode of his Locked’ on Celtics podcast, Boston’s two recent coaching hires are huge improvements for a team that lacked coaching depth during the postseason. However, Karalis believes the coaching additions are also important due to Sam Cassell and Lee being former players.

“It’s not lost on me that these are two former players, two black head coaches. It’s very important for Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum to see they’re building a staff,” Karalis said. “With these guys, that the diversity, added diversity in the NBA coaching ranks is something that’s been important to Tatum, to Brown. And so the Celtics are speaking to their superstars through these coaching hires. Very capable, very successful head coaches, but with a specific kind of shared character, former players, guys that Tatum and Brown can relate to, that they can talk to.”

Early in the postseason, the Celtics lost Damon Stoudamire, the only former player on their coaching staff, after he accepted a head coaching job with Georgia Tech University, leaving Boston short-handed for the remainder of the playoffs.

Two Celtics Coaches Join Ime Udoka’s Staff

On June 1, it was reported that two Boston Celtics assistant coaches had left the team in order to join Ime Udoka’s staff on the Houston Rockets. Ben Sullivan and Aaron Miles both joined Boston in order to work under Udoka and helped lead the Celtics to the 2022 NBA Finals.

However, after Ime Udoka was suspended (and ultimately fired) ahead of the 2022-23 NBA Season for breach of organizational policy, Sullivan and Miles found themselves working under former assistant Joe Mazzulla.

Despite the coaching upheaval, Mazzulla led the Celtics to game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals, where Boston ultimately fell to the Miami Heat. Still, Sullivan and Miles have been a significant part of the Celtics’ recent success, so their departures were seen as a blow to the team’s coaching staff.

Grant Williams Undergoes Surgery

Grant Williams has also experienced a blow in recent weeks, as Adrian Wojnarowski recently announced that the impending restricted free agent has undergone surgery on his left hand.

“Boston Celtics forward Grant Williams – who’ll be a restricted free agent this summer — had surgery on his left hand Friday that’s expected to have him fully recovered for the start of NBA training camp in the fall, sources told ESPN,” Wojnarowski wrote. “The surgery, considered successful, comes after Williams hurt the hand in March. Williams decided to continue playing with the injury through the Celtics’ run to the Eastern Conference Finals.”

Williams struggled to nail down a rotation spot during the postseason, leading many to believe he had fallen out of favor with Mazzulla. However, now it would seem like Williams was nursing an injury, and his lack of minutes was likely due to his inability to play at his usual level on a nightly basis.