The Boston Celtics almost went a surprising route on their coaching staff
The Boston Celtics apparently could have had a very different-looking coaching staff next season.
That’s even compared to what they’ve already done to replenish their stable next to head coach Joe Mazzulla. They’ve already added veteran coach/former player Sam Cassell as a top assistant to Mazzulla, as well as former Bucks coach Charles Lee and newcomer Phil Pressey.
A new report suggests that Mazzulla’s staff could have had a big-time infusion of experience, and from a surprising source.
According to Chris Mannix at SI, the Celtics talked to now-former ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy about possibly joining the coaching staff before making their off-season hires. The way Mannix words the report implies that the door on Van Gundy-to-Boston is now closed, if it was ever really open to begin with:
“Jeff Van Gundy, a cost-cutting casualty at ESPN last week, has been actively exploring a return to coaching, sources tell Sports Illustrated. Van Gundy, who last coached in the NBA in 2007, has been discussing assistant coaching jobs with several teams. Dallas and Boston discussed roles with Van Gundy before beefing up their coaching staffs.”
Mannix’s report also indicates that, while likely not in Boston, Van Gundy sounds interested in returning to the NBA coaching ranks somewhere. He hasn’t coached in the NBA since 2006-07 with the Houston Rockets, but he’s best known for his 13 seasons with the New York Knicks, which included a berth in the 1999 NBA Finals as head coach.
Van Gundy also coached Team USA as recently as 2019, when they qualified for the FIBA World Cup. So it’s not like he’s been out of coaching for almost 20 years. But it sounds like if and when he returns to coaching, it won’t be with the Celtics.