Boston is switching things up after a first-round exit from the playoffs.
The Celtics announced Wednesday that president Danny Ainge is retiring and head coach Brad Stevens is being promoted to that position. Stevens will now help with the search for his replacement.
“It was my decision,” Ainge said at a news conference Wednesday. “I don’t know if there was a moment in time, but like I said earlier, I trust my instincts, and my instincts told me a couple months ago that it was time for me to move on, and that’s what’s best for us, that’s what’s best for the Celtics.
The 62-year-old had a mild heart attack in 2019, which he said caused him to begin thinking about a change. Stevens has been the coach for the last eight seasons following his time with Butler.
Wednesday’s announcement came following a loss to Brooklyn in Game 5. The Celtics were without guard Jaylen Brown for the postseason after he suffered a season-ending injury.
“I’m passionate about this group of people, I’m passionate about the team we have, I’m passionate about the people that work in our front office, I’m passionate about our coaching staff, and that’s who I’ve spent all morning with,” Stevens said. “I do think I have a good insight into our team as Danny now steps away.”
Offshore sportsbook BetOnline released odds for Stevens’ replacement on Thursday morning. Current Boston assistant Jay Larranaga opened as the +300 ‘chalk’ to be the next head coach.
Larranaga has been with the organization since the 2012 season. He is the son of University of Miami head coach Jim Larranaga. Jay Larranaga was interviewed as a potential replacement when Doc Rivers left the team in 2013.
Lakers assistant coach Jason Kidd has the second-shortest odds at +500. Kidd is expected to be a candidate for the job, according to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes. He has coaching experience with Brooklyn, Milwaukee and Los Angeles.
The other name reported by Haynes is former Atlanta head coach Lloyd Pierce, who is listed at +600 by BetOnline. Pierce spent time as an assistant with Philadelphia before taking the Hawks’ gig, helping develop Joel Embiid. He went 63-120 as the Atlanta head coach, but the roster had limited talent the first two seasons and the team had injuries galore earlier this year.
Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups also has a +600 price tag. Billups was drafted by the Celtics in 1997 before being traded during his rookie season. He is in just his first season as an assistant under Ty Lue and does not have any head coaching experience. However, Billups has plenty of contacts and is viewed as a sharp basketball analyst.
Sam Cassell (Philadelphia assistant) is +700, while Ime Udoka (Brooklyn assistant) and Kenny Atkinson (Clippers assistant) are both 10/1.
San Antonio assistant Becky Hammon is on the board at 14/1. Hammon was a six-time All-Star as a WNBA player and has been on Gregg Popovich’s staff since 2014.
Stevens hired Kara Lawson as the first female assistant in franchise history before she took the women’s head-coaching job at Duke. Steven has spoken highly of Hammon in the past and stated that he expects her to be an NBA head coach in the future.