Joe Mazzulla

Jamie Young, Jay Larranaga Won’t Return As Celtics Assistants

Longtime Celtics assistant coaches Jamie Young and Jay Larranaga won’t be part of Ime Udoka‘s new staff, according to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. Both coaches told Himmelsbach that their contracts won’t be renewed for next season.

A league source confirms the rumor that Spurs assistant Will Hardy will join Udoka in Boston, and assistant coach Joe Mazzulla is expected to be retained.

Young started with the Celtics in 2000 and became an assistant coach in 2011. He served as an advance scout and video coordinator prior to the promotion. Larranaga, who has been with the team since 2012, was the top assistant under Brad Stevens.

“The experience was incredible,” Young said. “You don’t usually get to be in one place this long in this business. It was everything anybody could’ve wished for.” (Twitter link)

Outside Names Emerge In Celtics’ Coaching Search

New Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens has begun reaching out to other organizations for permission to interview coaching candidates, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojanarowski.

The early group of candidates will likely be expansive, according to Woj. A few names he has heard from sources include Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups, Bucks assistants Darvin Ham and Charles Lee, Mavericks assistant Jamahl Mosley, and Nets assistant Ime Udoka.

Billups and Udoka have been mentioned before in relation to Boston, but the other three names are new. Ham, who played 12 NBA seasons, has been an assistant coach for the past decade, starting with the Lakers and then working under Mike Budenholzer in both Atlanta and Milwaukee. Lee is also a former NBA player with seven years as an assistant, all under Budenholzer. Mosley started his coaching career with the Nuggets in 2005 and has been with Dallas since 2014.

Stevens, who is in the unusual position of hiring his own replacement, recently completed interviews with several assistants who were on his staff this season. Prominent names in that group include Jay Larranaga, Scott Morrison, Jerome Allen, and Joe Mazzulla.

Follow the developments on all the coaching vacancies throughout the league with our Head Coaching Search Tracker.

Eastern Notes: Lawson, Bulls, Collison, Sirvydis, Magic

The Celtics announced three additions to their coaching staff today, including the official hiring of Kara Lawson as their first-ever female assistant. A 13-year WNBA veteran and Olympic gold medal winner, she spent the past two seasons as the primary television analyst for the Wizards and covered games for ESPN Radio.

“This was a good fit,” Lawson said to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. “I wanted to go somewhere where I’d be challenged, I wanted to go somewhere where I’d be allowed to coach, and I wanted to go to an organization that was going to be playing in big games to be able to get a sense of that last frontier of coaching, which is being able to do it in pressure situations in the regular season and the playoffs.”

Also added to coach Brad Stevens’ staff were Brandon Bailey, who served as coach of the Celtics’ G League affiliate in Maine the past two seasons, and Joe Mazzulla, a former assistant with the Red Claws.

There’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • It got lost in the shuffle of this week’s free agency frenzy, but according to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune (Twitter link), there was a belief in league circles that the Bulls were the frontrunners to sign Darren Collison before the free agent point guard unexpectedly announced his retirement.
  • The Bulls have added two new assistants to head coach Jim Boylen’s staff, according to a press release from the team. Chris Fleming announced in May that he was leaving the Nets to come to Chicago, and Roy Rogers, who recently parted ways with the Rockets, officially joined the team Wednesday. In addition, Karen Stack has been elevated to assistant coach, Paul Miller was named assistant to the head coach and former intern Chris Kent is the new video coordinator.
  • Deividas Sirvydis, who was selected by the Pistons with the 37th pick in the draft, will likely spend the upcoming season in Europe, tweets international basketball writer Donatas Urbonas. Rytas Vilnius GM Rolandas Jarutis expects to have the 6’8″ shooting guard back next season unless he has an outstanding performance with Detroit’s Summer League team. Sirvydis, 19, was MVP of the EuroLeague Basketball Next Generation Tournament in 2018.
  • The Magic have probably given up on Fran Vazquez ever coming to the NBA, but there was news this week on their 2005 draft pick, whose draft rights they still retain, tweets Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports. The 36-year-old re-signed with his Zaragoza team in Spain, so his cap hold will be removed from Orlando’s books for another season.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Celtics Notes: Ainge, Mazzulla, Smart

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is back to work after suffering a second heart attack, and while he’s apparently no worse for the wear, the experience seems to have reawakened him to how precious life can be and how lucky he is, writes Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald.

“You just move on,” says Ainge. “I just had some chest pains and went to the hospital and, you know, had a heart attack and had a stent put in… it’s just… it’s just a wake-up call… I’m at the stage in my life where I’m attending way too many funerals, so I’m just happy to be here and excited for our upcoming season. I love my job. I love the people I work with. I love the players. They keep me young. They’re a lot of fun to be around, as you can see by the four guys we just drafted.”

Ainge says he wasn’t scared when the incident happened, but he now realizes that he needs to treat himself better moving forward.

“I’m scared enough to the point where I want to eat better and I want to be healthier, and I’m listening to my doctors a little more diligently and taking better care of myself. So, yeah, I wouldn’t say that I was unhealthy, but I would say that I didn’t do what I needed to be doing, and I should have shown from having an episode 10 years ago. So, you know, you get really motivated for six months and then you sort of feel great again. I feel great now. I feel as healthy as I’ve felt.”

Ainge also spoke on the topic of whether the stress of being the head of an NBA team’s basketball operations department factored into his health issues.

“You wonder how much of it is work and stress and those things but, you know, everybody has to manage challenges, health challenges and stress challenges. I would say that there are stressful days, but the job overall is not high stress, in my opinion. There are stressful moments, (but) coaching is much harder. I’ve done that job. But my job is more to keep people in a good frame of mind, keep people positive through the adversity of a season. And just my nature, I’m more positive and see the bright side in things, and I think that eliminates a lot of stress.”

There’s more news out of Boston tonight:

  • Per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Celtics are hiring Fairmont (WV) State coach Joe Mazzulla as an assistant coach. Mazzulla, who made a strong impression with the Celtics G League staff a few years back, played for new Cavs’ head coach John Beilein at West Virginia.
  • Despite the fact that the Celtics are likely losing both point guard Kyrie Irving and big man Al Horford to free agency, incumbent guard Marcus Smart is optimistic about the team’s prospects for the 2019/20 season, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “Hey, the thing is, the Raptors just won the championship, right? But they’ve got to start back over from the beginning just like we do… so everybody’s starting over, regardless if they have the same team or not, they’ve all got to start from the beginning. That’s how we take it. We take it as we come in, and we have an opportunity to do something special, and we get another chance to do it.”
  • In another story for ESPN, Bontemps adds that with free agency right around the corner, Ainge finds himself with holes at point guard and center and with a roster that features 11 players who are 25 or younger, just one season after being a team that seemed destined to compete for championships right away.