Damon Stoudamire

Celtics To Hire Damon Stoudamire As Assistant Coach

The Celtics are hiring former NBA guard Damon Stoudamire as an assistant under head coach Ime Udoka, according to Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link).

Stoudamire began his coaching career in 2009 and was the head coach at Pacific for the past five years. Before that, he spent time as an assistant coach with the Grizzlies, the University of Memphis, and the University of Arizona from 2009-16. Goodman also notes that Stoudamire and Udoka both grew up together in Portland.

Stoudamire was the No. 7 pick in the 1995 NBA Draft and spent 13 seasons as a player. He made stops with Toronto, Portland, Memphis and San Antonio throughout his career, averaging 13.4 points, 6.1 assists and 33.2 minutes in 878 games.

Boston hired Udoka after longtime coach Brad Stevens transitioned to the front office and became the team’s president of basketball operations last month. The Celtics mostly struggled in 2020/21 due to injury and COVID-related issues, finishing with just a 36-36 record.

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Udoka, Stoudemire, Bridges

The Knicks enter free agency with the most cap space in the league and some major holes to fill. With that in mind, Ian Begley of SNY.tv explores some of their potential options on the wing.

Reggie Bullock and Alec Burks both had success playing different roles on the wing for the Knicks during their overachieving year, and there was midseason interest in bringing both back, but following a postseason that exposed the team’s lack of offensive creators and with options like Kelly Oubre, DeMar DeRozan, Will Barton, Duncan Robinson and others available, it’s unclear if the Knicks will want to spend significant money on Bullock and Burks.

We have more from around the Atlantic Division:

  • The Knicks are closely watching the Damian Lillard situation, Begley reports. With Lillard reportedly considering his long-term future with the Blazers, and the Knicks employing Lillard’s mentor Johnnie Bryant as an assistant coach, the team is monitoring the All-Star guard in case a deal could be made. Begley writes that the team would also be content building patiently should a trade not materialize.
  • Norvel Pelle is looking to stick with the Knicks, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post. The 6’10” center joined the team late, but provided a defensive spark off the bench, and was a willing and beloved team cheerleader, writes Berman. One NBA scout interviewed by Berman was impressed with the strides Pelle has made in recent years. “[He] looks like he’s reading angles better when switching on pick-and-rolls,” said the anonymous scout. “He’s avoiding foul trouble that way. We are talking about a guy who was [the] No. 1-ranked center in the country out of high school.”
  • Jay King of The Athletic profiles Celtics coach Ime Udoka, and how he found his calling as a coach. Much of the inspiration came from Isiah Thomas when Udoka played for Thomas on the Knicks in the 2005/06 season. “You may not see what your calling is,” Thomas told Udoka. “Your calling is coaching.” It took a long time for Udoka to accept that coaching could be his destiny rather than being an NBA star in his own right.
  • Former NBA point guard Damon Stoudamire is a target to join Ime Udoka on the Celtics coaching staff, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Stoudamire was the 2019/2020 WCC Coach of the Year for the Pacific Tigers.
  • The Sixers’ draft-night trade of Mikal Bridges to the Suns had a lasting impact on both teams. The Athletic’s Mike Vorkunov dives deep into how the trade went down. Vorkunov writes that the Sixers had no intention of trading Bridges when they took him, but Zhaire Smith was tied with Bridges on their board, and when the Suns offered a 2021 Heat unprotected pick, the Sixers felt they couldn’t say no. “If second-round picks are cigarettes in prison,” said one anonymous source interviewed by Vorkunov, “unprotected picks are conjugal visits.”