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Kidd, Pierce, Udoka expected to be candidates for Celtics’ job

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 06: Head Coach Lloyd Pierce of the Atlanta Hawks looks on during the second half of an NBA game against the Denver Nuggets at State Farm Arena on January 6, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. 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 Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) | LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 29: Assistant Coach Ime Udoka of the San Antonio Spurs looks on during the game against the LA Clippers on December 29, 2018 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images) | NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: Jason Kidd attends the 2013 Cantor Fitzgerald And BGC Partners Charity Day at BGC Partners on September 11, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/WireImage)

Head coach candidates have emerged after the Celtics front office moves. Brad Stevens will move to a full-time front office role as Ainge retires, which leaves a head coach vacancy. The candidates include current Lakers’ assistant Jason Kidd, former Hawks’ head coach Llyod Pierce, and well-respected assistant for the Nets, Ime Udoka.

The Celtics fell to the 7th seed this season after reaching the Eastern Conference Finals in the prior year. While the Celtics dealt with numerous injuries and COVID absences this season, there are higher expectations for the team.


Feb 23, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce yells to the team as guard Rajon Rondo (7) brings the ball up court during the third quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Kidd

Kidd, Pierce, and Udoka are all well-respected by players throughout the league. Giannis Antetokoumpo credited Kidd for his development during his tenure as Bucks’ head coach. Because of his esteem as a player, the Lakers brought him in as a voice equal to LeBron James and Antony Davis. He could share some wisdom regarding playmaking to Tatum and Brown, which would unlock the Celtics offense.

Lloyd Pierce

Pierce has become well-known for his work in social justice. He was one of the advocates in the NBA for the league taking action in using arenas as voting centers. Jaylen Brown expressed his desire to work with Pierce in the Atlanta area regarding voting. In terms of work as a coach, Pierce was fired by the Hawks this season. Pierce and Hawks star Trae Young didn’t see eye to eye, which led to friction in the locker room. On an older team, his voice might be more accepted.

Ime Udoka

Chris Mannix reported Ime Udoka was also a candidate for the Celtics job.

Udoka is a former player for the Portland Trailblazers and San Antonio Spurs. He became an important assistant with the Spurs. He also was on the staff that won the championship in 2014. Udoka also has great respect amongst players. Udoka was instrumental in helping to bring LaMarcus Aldrige to the Spurs when San Antonio wasn’t a free agent destination. Aldridge was the first big-name free agent to sign with the Spurs in recent memory. Udoka’s relationship with Aldridge stemming from his Trailblazer days was crucial in bringing him in.

Udoka was brought onto the Nets coaching staff this past offseason by Steve Nash for his defensive expertise. The Celtics have the potential to be an elite group on that end. Udoka could help them tap into that.

So far, the list of candidates is promising. Each of them have the potential to develop a great relationship with the locker room.

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