The league has finally bestowed their blessing on the deal that would allow Doc to go to the Clippers as their coach in return to a first round draft pick to the Celtics. I figured that it would be approved. There's too much precedence for this type of deal. Reports continue that David Stern will stand firm in preventing any deal that would send Kevin Garnett to the Clippers to join Doc this season. So, now the Celtics are officially in the market for a new coach.
Green Street listed the top 18 candidates to replace Doc on the Celtics bench. There are a few interesting names on there and one that is not, that I think might be a serious candidate. First, to discuss a few of the names on the Green Street list.
At #18, they list Kevin Garnett. This is probably the longest of long shots. I'm not sure if today's CBA allows for player coaches any more. I just don't see him wanting to have to deal with all that goes with being a head coach. Although, the reasoning for Kevin Garnett coaching Kevin Garnett would be the same as Red Auerbach used when appointing Bill Russell as his successor. No one could get Kevin Garnett to play hard as well as Kevin Garnett can.
Larry Bird at #17 is very thought provoking as well. Larry was a great coach when he took over the Pacers for 3 seasons. He also said at that time that a head coach shouldn't stay in one place longer than 3 years because players start to become numb to his coaching. But, in order for Larry to coach in Boston, he would have to answer to former teammate Danny Ainge as his boss. I just don't see that happening.
At #14, George Karl would be a good coach and he certainly has been successful wherever he has coached. But, as a very successful coach, he would demand a high salary and part of the reason that the Celtics were happy to let Doc walk was because they don't want to pay big money for the coach of a rebuilding team. Include Lionel Hollins to the successful coaches that would be great except for their asking price.
And, I chuckle at #13 when I think of fiery and micromanaging Avery Johnson trying to coach Rajon Rondo. That report of Rondo dropping an F bomb on Doc would be just a drop in the bucket to the run ins that Rondo would have with Avery. On second thought, that might be worth it for the comedic effect alone. You can add Stan Van Gundy to this reasoning as well. Rondo and Stan could sell tickets to their face offs and make more than the games.
I like Brian Shaw and think he could do a good job coaching a young team but the Nuggets hired him before the Celtics could even begin their coaching search. Another candidate we can cross off the list without further ado is Antoine Walker who tweeted this:
Boston fans its time for me to be the celtics coach !!!!
— Antoine Walker (@WalkerAntoine8) June 24, 2013
I'm thinking that Danny would remember when he called him a snake for trading him. Maybe if they institute a 4 point shot, someone would be willing to give Antoine a shot but for now, I think it's safe to say we won't be seeing Antoine Walker coming through the door to coach anytime soon.
The number one candidate on this list is Miami assistant David Fizdale who comes highly recommended and would probably come cheap for his first head coaching job. He's a good communicator and has shown a strength in the area of player development. #5 on the Green Street list is Danny Ainge, who Jackie MacMullan mentioned could take over the bench. Danny was a very successful coach in Phoenix with a 136-90 record. He left coaching because he wanted to spend more time with his family and didn't want all the travel. Danny is a lot older now and he also has some serious responsibility as the GM. I don't see him wanting to take on the extra job. But, that brings me to a name that wasn't on the list but that makes some sense.
When Jackie Mac heard rumors of Ainge possibly coaching, maybe it wasn't Danny, but his son, Austin. Austin Ainge was the first head coach of the Celtics D-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws. He led the Red Claws to a 45-55 record in two seasons as their coach. His 2009-10 squad tied the NBA D-League record for wins by an expansion team in their first season with 27 and narrowly missed the playoffs due to a tiebreaker. In his two seasons with the Red Claws, three Red Claws players earned NBA call ups. During the 2010-11 season, Ainge led a young Red Claws’ team that included up to seven rookies, including the 2011 NBA Development League Rookie of the Year DeShawn Sims.
Before coaching the Red Claws, Ainge served a stint as an assistant coach for Southern Utah University where he was responsible for perimeter players, recruiting, player development, video breakdown, and developing game plans. He then was hired as a scout with the Celtics before moving on to coach the Red Claws. He just finished his second season with the Celtics as the team’s Director of Player Personnel. It makes sense. He has coaching experience. He knows the team. He has nepotism on his side. He has been praised for his ability to develop young players. And, most importantly, he would come cheap. Just a thought, but one that makes a lot of sense.
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