The Boston Celtics are finalizing an agreement with Brooklyn Nets assistant Ime Udoka to make him the franchise's new coach, sources told ESPN. A formal announcement is expected as soon as Wednesday.
Udoka, 43, separated himself quickly in the search process, sources said, and his candidacy was boosted with strong recommendations from key Celtics stars -- including Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart -- who played for Udoka on Team USA in the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Jeff Goodman: Ime Udoka’s experience coaching Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart a couple years ago in Team USA was significant in his hiring. “Those guys all liked him and respected him,” one source told me. “He’s an easy guy to connect with.”
Jay King: Ime Udoka will indeed be the next coach of the Celtics, source confirms. The team liked his combination of NBA playing experience and coaching experience under Gregg Popovich, Brett Brown and Steve Nash.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Boston Celtics are finalizing an agreement to hire Brooklyn Nets assistant Ime Udoka as the franchise's new coach, sources tell ESPN.
Ime Udoka has received strong reviews from Celtics players who played for the U.S. National team in the 2019 World Cup tournament, sources said. Udoka was an assistant under national coach Gregg Popovich. Udoka joined Steve Nash's staff this year after one season with the Sixers and seven years under Popovich with the Spurs.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Brooklyn’s Ime Udoka, Milwaukee’s Darvin Ham and Clippers’ Chauncey Billups are among head coaching candidates who Boston hopes to interview for a second time, sources tell ESPN. Celtics’ search continues to focus in the assistant ranks.
Mark Murphy: Per league source: Celtics have "three or four" strong coaching candidates, but Rick Carlisle isn't considered one of them.
Stevens interviewed Celtics assistants Jay Larranaga, Scott Morrison and Jerome Allen and plans to broaden the search to include Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham and Billups, a person with knowledge of the process told USA TODAY Sports. ESPN reported the Celtics wanted to interview Nets assistant Ime Udoka, Dallas assistant Jamahl Mosley and Bucks assistant Charles Lee. Coaching insiders indicate the Celtics will hire externally rather than promoting from within.
After spending eight years in that role, he recently said he believes the team could benefit from someone with fresh perspectives. “I don’t think anything was missing with Brad,” Maxwell said. “I just think now everybody thinks it’s time for another voice. A voice gets tired after a while, so a new direction, a new following. And I happen to like the fact that Brad is being the head of basketball operations because who would know better about the weaknesses and the strengths of this team than the guy who’s seen this team almost every day. So he knows better than anybody what this team needs.”
Maxwell believes the most important job for the next coach will be connecting with the Celtics’ younger players. He thinks the team would benefit from hiring a person of color with NBA playing experience to coach. “I think it’s important because if you look at the Celtics front office, if you look at most of those people who are there, who have been in the front office, ownership, everything else, those people aren’t of color,” said Maxwell, now a Celtics radio analyst. “So I think it would help the players if they found somebody who they could relate to maybe a little bit more. So that’s why I think it’s very important.”
Maxwell would also like to see Stevens add more diversity to the front office. “I would love to have more diversity in the front office,” Maxwell said. “I’ve said that a thousand times about the Celtics. I think that would definitely help make them a little more relatable maybe to potential free agents, having people of color in the front office.”
According to a league source, Celtics assistant coach Scott Morrison was the latest candidate to interview for Boston’s head coach position on Monday morning, joining a pair of coaches on Stevens staff that are receiving consideration.
Jerome Allen has also been interviewed and long-time assistant Jay Larranaga will be in the mix as well before the team starts the interview process with candidates from outside the organization.
Two new head coaching positions have opened in the past week in Portland and Orlando as those two teams parted ways respectively with Terry Stotts and Steve Clifford. Portland is a respected job around the league with an All-Star but the Celtics opening remains the most high sought after opening on the market according to league sources
With that in mind, there's little belief, sources said, that the Celtics' next coach will be an assistant elevated to the top position for the first time. That would theoretically cast a wide net, including respected retreads. The first two names linked to Boston's opening, Jason Kidd and Lloyd Pierce, both led teams previously, and Warriors assistant Mike Brown—formerly a head coach of the Cavaliers and Lakers—is searching for another head coaching opportunity, sources told B/R.
If Boston were to consider a first-time head coach, that pool would likely include former players such as current Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups, who despite his inexperience, is widely considered a premier candidate on this summer's NBA coaching market. Among league personnel, Billups has been considered for weeks as Portland's leading candidate to replace Terry Stotts. The former Finals MVP is described as someone who commands each room he enters by his presence and demeanor, equal parts confidence and humility to listen—a similar recipe that landed Steve Nash on Brooklyn's bench prior to this season. If not Billups, 76ers assistant Sam Cassell—another former Celtics point guard—is also considered to be one of the few external first-time head coaches who could receive significant interest for Boston's opening. Cassell, too, is said to command the ears of superstars, such as Paul George and Ben Simmons, who he has mentored over the past few years as an assistant with the Clippers and 76ers.
Further, there was a significant outcry among league personnel pointing to Boston's power shift as just another top job vacancy—lead executive or head coach—to open and close without any interview process at all, let alone one that included conversations with multiple Black personnel. With that, there is a sense around the league that hiring a head coaching candidate who is Black will be a top priority for this position—the circumstances with Danny Ainge saying he'd never heard of racism from Celtics crowds notwithstanding.
Metta World Peace: I would totally head coach for the @Celtics if their was an opportunity. But whoever gets the job , much success to you.
There are already several candidates for the Celtics head coaching vacancy. Another coach that will get consideration for the job? Celtics assistant coach Jerome Allen.
Stevens and the Celtics hired Allen in 2015, viewing him as someone who could help push the organization forward. Allen has worked closely with many of the Celtics top players over the years, including Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. He was responsible for coordinating how the Celtics would attack their opponents’ defensive schemes. The Undefeated earlier reported that Allen was expected to get consideration for the job. A league source confirmed that, saying Allen is among a group of internal candidates who will speak with Stevens.
Who will Stevens hire? He will interview internal candidates this week, sources told SI. There are strong options: Jay Larranaga has interviewed for head coaching jobs with other organizations, while Jerome Allen and Scott Morrison have head coaching experience. Stevens will also look outside the organization, with Nets assistant Ime Udoka expected to get a long look.
Keith Smith: Next Celtics coach odds per @betonline_ag: Jay Larranaga 3/1, Jason Kidd 5/1, Chauncey Billups 6/1, Lloyd Pierce 6/1, Sam Cassell 7/1, Kenny Atkinson 10/1, Ime Udoka 10/1, Jarron Collins 12/1, Alvin Gentry 12/1, Nate McMillan 12/1, Mike D'Antoni 14/1, Becky Hammon 14/1, Jeff Van Gundy 14/1
Chris Grenham: Brad Stevens on the coaching search on @NBCSBoston: "There are great candidates all over the place and I'm looking forward to getting into the process of narrowing that down."
Chris Grenham: Woj on @espn: "This is going to be a coveted job. ... Watch as these playoffs go on. There could be more candidates available to Boston than are available now. ... This I think is a job that any # of candidates, including those employed elsewhere, would love to get involved in." pic.twitter.com/otWQszGuOj
September 18, 2021 | 2:39 am EDT Update
The Bulls’ offseason overhaul couldn’t have come at a better time, as Zach LaVine is on the final year of his contract with an extension yet to be signed. But if it were up to LaVine himself, he’s reportedly all-in on staying in the Windy City. That’s according to ESPN Chicago radio analyst David Kaplan, who’s heard from sources that the All-Star doesn’t want to go anywhere. Via ESPN 1000 FM: “He has told people that I know: ‘Hey man, if they want me here, I’m not going anywhere. I’m building this thing. I’m the first guy in the door. I wanna be part of this.’”
Is KAT’s trade value at all impacted by missing the playoffs yet again? If a Simmons deal can’t get done, would you think about trading him now, considering the likelihood that you may need to next offseason? — @JWeAnd1 Definitely no interest in trading him now. Towns will have plenty of value for the foreseeable future, barring a big injury. This is a big season. I think there will be more clarity, positive or negative, when 2021-22 concludes. Then the Wolves can make a real decision on how best to move forward. But Towns remains a focal point right now. That’s not changing anytime soon.
Morey will be in a similar position to Thibs in that rival executives will try to back him into a corner and wait for things to get really uncomfortable with Simmons, thereby driving down the asking price. But Morey is much more experienced in front office work than was Thibodeau, a coach to his core who had not yet started his third season as the lead decision-maker. Those around the league believe that if there is any executive able to stomach the circus that is sure to descend upon Philly, to block out the noise that comes with this kind of drama, it’s Morey.
Ben Simmons trade buzz has been one of the offseason’s hottest storylines, but president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and the 76ers have yet to pull the trigger in a deal involving the 25-year-old three-time All-Star. Will the Aussie wear the 76ers’ red, white and blue to start the season? By a wide margin, our panel’s vote projects Simmons to remain in Philly — at least until the season tips off on Oct. 19. 1. Philadelphia 76ers: 45%
Despite the on-paper match, ESPN’s NBA insider Zach Lowe took to his podcast to say there’s a slim chance of that actually happening due to the Clippers’ lack of interest in Russell Westbrook when he was available: “The Clippers were never interested in Russell Westbrook. They were a rumored Russell Westbrook trade in a few places whenever that happened. They were never interested. That was never a real thing. I think they value their optionality too much.” Lowe ultimately concluded, “I just don’t see it,” because, like Westbrook, Wall is over 30 and has a massive contract — $44 million due this season and a player option the following season for over $47 million.
The Philadelphia 76ers earn the top spot for Team Turmoil, as our experts predict which teams will be surrounded by the most drama this season. While the Ben Simmons saga lingers in Philly, the Lakers could share in the dramatics, as head coach Frank Vogel will have to incorporate former MVP Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony along with five former Laker alums. 1. Philadelphia 76ers: 61 points (55.0% first-place votes)