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When the Celtics hire their next head coach, there’s a chance they also make history. Now that the spot has opened up after Brad Stevens transferred to President of Basketball Operations, two notable candidates to immediately emerge are women.

It may be off-putting to ask this question in 2021, but it should be asked, since it’s never happened: is the NBA ready for a female head coach? Are the Celtics ready?

Boston’s now-former President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge commented on the possibility of the C’s hiring a woman as their next head coach, which would make her the first in NBA history. He was asked because two candidates named in the ensuing reports and rumors were former Celtics assistant coach Kara Lawson and Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon. Ainge believes the C’s would be receptive to a “capable” head coach who happens to be a woman – and his answer reflected how much progress the NBA has made even in the past few decades.

“I think a female head coach would be received better today than when I played, and I think that it would be, yes,” Ainge said. “I think it totally depends on her and how she coaches. Players want opportunities to play, they want opportunities to shine. If she’s confident and capable, I think that they would receive her [well].”

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 11: General manager and President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge of the Boston Celtics attends a game between the Celtics and the Memphis Grizzlies during the 2019 NBA Summer League at the Thomas & Mack Center on July 11, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Celtics defeated the Grizzlies 113-87. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JULY 11: General manager and President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge of the Boston Celtics attends a game between the Celtics and the Memphis Grizzlies during the 2019 NBA Summer League at the Thomas & Mack Center on July 11, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Celtics defeated the Grizzlies 113-87. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Ainge did note one factor that may make Lawson less qualified than other head coaching candidates: she has no head coaching experience in the NBA. He repeatedly stressed the importance of having coached at the highest level before throughout the interview.

“I think experience matters, I think presence matters, I think work ethic and intelligence matter, I think all of those things matter, and it’s really hard to find all those qualities that exist in one person,” Ainge said.

Ainge also commented on the days leading up to his decision to retire as Celtics President of Basketball Operations, and his plans for the immediate future. Listen to the podcast above for the full interview, and keep scrolling for a closer look at the Celtics’ top head coach candidates.

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