Following their elimination from the 2021 NBA Playoffs, the Boston Celtics announced that Danny Ainge is retiring from his role as President of Basketball Operations and will be succeeded by Brad Stevens, who has relinquished his head coaching duties to accept the front office role.
Per the team's release, "a search for a new head coach will begin immediately."
Who will serve as Stevens' successor? According to Yahoo's Chris Haynes, Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Jason Kidd and former Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce are two of the perceived candidates to lead the Celtics.
While Kidd is currently on an NBA staff, Pierce is among a number of free agent candidates that could be considered to lead the Celtics talented roster next season and beyond.
Here are a few that could come into consideration for the job in Boston.
If the Celtics decide to keep the hire in-house, they could opt to go with Larranaga, who has served as an assistant coach with the franchise since 2012.
Larranaga, 46, was reportedly considered for Boston's head coaching job in 2013 before the franchise opted to hire Stevens. While he didn't get the head coaching job, Larranaga has served as an assistant under Stevens for each of the last eight seasons, earning a strong reputation for his ability to develop young talent.
Given his familiarity with the franchise and the roster in place - as currently constructed - it's hard to ignore Larranaga as a leading candidate.
A different in-house option is Morrison, who will reportedly interview for the position.
A native of Morrell, Prince Edward Island, Canada, Morrison has been affiliated with the franchise since 2014 when he took over as head coach of the then-Maine Red Claws, Boston's NBA G League affiliate.
Morrison has quickly risen up the coaching ranks, being named 2015 G League Coach of the Year following his first season as head coach of the Red Claws.
After three seasons in Maine, Morrison was hired as an assistant coach with the Celtics, a position he's held since 2017.
The Athletic's Jared Weiss has reported that Lawson is a "prime candidate" to watch in Boston's coaching search.
Lawson, who joined the Celtics franchise as an assistant coach ahead of the 2019-20 season, got into coaching after a 13-year WNBA career and several years as a broadcaster. Just one year into her career as an assistant coach, Lawson was hired as the head coach of Duke University's women's basketball team.
Her first season leading Duke was limited to just four games as their season was cut short due to concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Lawson posted a 3-1 record in her first season as a head coach.
As alluded to in the above report from Haynes, Pierce is expected to be a candidate for the job.
Pierce, who was fired by the Hawks midway through the 2020-21 NBA season, has posted a 63-120 record through two and a half seasons as an NBA head coach. Record aside, Pierce has some familiarity with a number of members of the Celtics roster.
As an assistant coach for Team USA at the FIBA Basketball World Cup, Pierce has worked with Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker.
Jeff Van Gundy
He hasn't coached an NBA team in 14 years, but Van Gundy is usually linked to head coaching vacancies, and understandably so.
In 11 seasons as an NBA coach, Van Gundy led the eighth-seeded New York Knicks on a historic Finals run and led the Houston Rockets to three 50-win seasons. In the last five years, Van Gunday has coached the United States Senior Men's National in a number of international competitions and reportedly interviewed with the Rockets last offseason.
Should he elect to leave the broadcast booth, Van Gundy will likely receive consideration.
One of the brightest long-time assistants in the NBA, the 48-year-old Vanterpool spent the past two seasons as the Minnesota Timberwolves associate head coach.
At the conclusion of the 2020-21 season, it was reported that Vanterpool would not be returning to Minnesota.
Vanterpool, who spent his first seven seasons as an assistant with the Portland Trail Blazers, has earned ringing endorsements from players such as Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, who were each miffed that their former coach did not receive consideration for Minnesota's midseason vacancy.
At the very least, Boston should be expected to do its due diligence in reaching out to Vanterpool.
While the above four are considered to be free agents, there are a number of candidates that the Celtics franchise could soon be asking for permission to speak with in regards to the coaching vacancy.
Sam Cassell - A member of Boston's 2008 championship team, Cassell has been at the top of many head coaching lists for years now. Currently an assistant with the Philadelphia 76ers, Cassell interviewed for the LA Clippers coaching vacancy last offseason.
Chauncey Billups - Drafted third overall by the Celtics in 1997, Billups' coaching career began last season when he joined as an assistant coach with the Clippers.
Becky Hammon - Currently an assistant with the San Antonio Spurs, Hammon has been linked to a number of coaching vacancies in years past. Most recently, she went through a round of interviews for the Indiana Pacers coaching vacancy.
Kenny Atkinson - Also an assistant with the Clippers, Atkinson has four seasons of head coaching experience under his belt, leading the 2018-19 Brooklyn Nets to the NBA Playoffs.
Wes Unseld Jr. - Recently promoted to associate head coach of the Denver Nuggets, Unseld is another one of the league's brightest minds. With a reputation of developing young talent, Unseld could tap into the potential of Boston's recent draft picks.
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