Anthony Grant

Celtics Notes: Stevens, Fields, Presti, Ainge, Holtmann

The Celtics promoted Brad Stevens from head coach to president of basketball operations today, but they never considered having him handle both roles, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Stevens said he would have been happy to continue coaching if Danny Ainge was still running the front office, but he began considering the move in conversations with owner Wyc Grousbeck when Ainge started talking about retirement.

Grousbeck said he considers coaching and personnel decisions to be “two separate jobs,” and Bontemps adds that neither Stevens nor management pushed for a dual role. The idea of having a head coach with a prominent voice in front office decisions has become less common across the league in recent years.

“I think it’s too much (to do both jobs),” Stevens said. “All of my intention, energy, focus is doing this job well, and hiring a great coach and trusting they will do their job well. I think that everyone will benefit from that approach. To me, that would have been a lot to be able to do both of those things. I know some people have done it, some people have done it really well, but that would have been a great challenge.”

There’s more from Boston:

  • Hawks assistant general manager Landry Fields has been mentioned as a candidate to become GM of the Celtics, a source tells Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News (Twitter link). Bondy notes that Fields could complement Stevens because of his history in dealing with agent and player relationships.
  • Before turning to Stevens, the Celtics thought about trying to land long-time Thunder general manager Sam Presti, sources confirmed to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. A Massachusetts native, Presti has been with the organization since 2007 when it was still in Seattle. Several other internal candidates were considered, according to O’Connor, who adds that there have been rumors for months that Ainge might be leaving, with speculation that he would be interested in working for Utah, where much of his family lives, or possibly Portland.
  • Ainge’s decision to step down has been in the works for a couple of months, tweets Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald. Sources tell Murphy that Ainge informed ownership of his intentions shortly after the March 25 trade deadline.
  • Ohio State’s Chris Holtmann is a strong “sleeper” candidate as the Celtics begin their search for a new head coach, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic. Like Stevens, Holtmann is a former Butler coach and has enjoyed success in the college ranks. Hollinger mentions Dayton’s Anthony Grant as another under-the-radar possibility.

Thunder Notes: Weaver, Gallinari, Coaching Search

The Thunder‘s head coaching search now includes former Sixers and Nets assistant Will Weaver, sources tell Mitch Lawrence of SiriusXM NBA Radio (Twitter link). Weaver, who coached the Long Island Nets in 2018/19, currently serves as the head coach of the Sydney Kings in Australia’s National Basketball League.

In an episode of his Hoop Collective podcast earlier this month, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst linked Weaver to the Pelicans‘ head coaching search, noting that the veteran coach has a working relationship with New Orleans’ general manager Trajan Langdon. As Windhorst explains, the Pelicans’ decision to send 2019 second-round pick Didi Louzada to Sydney was related to Weaver’s presence there.

Relaying Windhorst’s comments last week, Matt Logue of The Australian wrote that “it is understood” that Weaver will interview for the Thunder’s open head coaching job.

While we wait to see if anything more concrete materializes between Weaver and two of the teams still seeking head coaches, here are a few more Thunder-related items:

  • An unrestricted free agent this fall, Danilo Gallinari published a tweet on Tuesday asking, “Where to next?” There’s still a chance Gallinari could return to the Thunder for the 2020/21 season, as Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman writes. However, Oklahoma City is believed to be mulling a rebuild and Gallinari’s Tuesday tweet suggests he’s preparing to play elsewhere next season.
  • Elsewhere at The Oklahoman, Mussatto continues to profile coaches who he believes could become candidates for the Thunder’s head coaching vacancy. In recent days, he has taken a closer look at Trail Blazers assistant Nate Tibbetts, Bucks assistant Charles Lee, Sixers assistant Ime Udoka, and Dayton head coach Anthony Grant.
  • In case you missed it last week, we previewed the Thunder’s major upcoming offseason decisions, including the possibility of a Chris Paul trade.

Thunder Assistant Hired As Dayton Head Coach

MARCH 30: Dayton is hiring Grant as its new head coach, reports Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports (Twitter link). The school has officially confirmed the decision (Twitter link).

MARCH 29: Thunder assistant Anthony Grant is being considered for the head coaching job at Dayton, according to Dave Jablonski of The Dayton Daily News.

The 50-year-old Grant has been with Oklahoma City for the past two seasons. He is a former player at Dayton and has a decade of college coaching experience. He compiled a 76-25 record as head coach at Virginia Commonwealth from 2006-09 and was 117-85 at Alabama from 2009-15.

The Dayton job opened Monday when Archie Miller left to take over at Indiana.

Thunder head coach Billy Donovan would be supportive if Grant decides to leave for Dayton, relays Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman.

“He’s a good coach, and there’s gonna be people that are gonna want to inquire about him,” Donovan said. “Dayton is his alma mater. He went to school there, he’s got connections and ties there. So it wouldn’t surprise me for them to want to go down the road and at least talk to him.”

Grant served as an assistant to Donovan at Florida for from 1996-2006. They rejoined forces in 2015 when Donovan accepted the job with Oklahoma City.

“I think for him right now it’s really more than anything else just trying to evaluate situations,” Donovan added. “I know he’s very, very happy here. I’ve enjoyed being back with him [after] being with him for so long.”

Northwest Rumors: Thunder, Mudiay, Jazz

The Thunder want a first-round pick to part with Perry Jones, according to two execs who spoke with Chris Mannix of SI.  Unfortunately for OKC, however, that doesn’t seem to be a realistic demand.  Here’s more from the Northwest Division..

  • Nuggets head coach Michael Malone spoke with Mannix about the chaos of draft night and the events leading up the selection of Emmanuel Mudiay.  Mudiay did not work out for Denver, but the Nuggets did watch a great deal of film on him.  Despite the uncertainty, Malone said that he trusted his front office and wasn’t hesitant about the pick.
  • The Jazz will have a conversation with Raul Neto, the Brazilian point guard they drafted two years ago, to gauge his interest in playing in the NBA next season, according to Aaron Falk, Tony Jones, and Steve Luhm of The Salt Lake Tribune.  The sense is that the Jazz want the 2013 second round pick to join them sooner rather than later.  However, it’s not clear where he’d fit in given the team’s current logjam at point guard.
  • The Raptors never considered Tomislav Zubčić, a late second-round pick in the 2012 draft whose rights Toronto sent to the Thunder today, to be an NBA prospect, according to Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun (on Twitter).  Apparently, the Raptors drafted him mostly as a favor to help speed up the team’s buyout for Jonas Valanciunas, Wolstat writes.
  • Blazers GM Neil Olshey is prepared for what’s ahead, regardless of whether LaMarcus Aldridge stays or goes, Ian Thomsen of writes.
  • The Thunder announced that they have named Monty Williams, Maurice Cheeks, and Anthony Grant as assistant coaches.