After a successful season, which featured the Celtics picking up the second seed in the Eastern Conference before making a run to the NBA Finals, Udoka is in hot water.
While the details behind the situation are unclear, Udoka has been suspended for the entire 2022-2023 season. As the Celtics launched an internal investigation, it seems Udoka’s job in Boston is under review as they enter a new season.
The Celtics didn’t have much time to find Udoka’s replacement. As training camp was under a week away, Boston quickly filled the void by promoting Udoka’s assistant Joe Mazzulla as the interim head coach.
In the past, Mazzulla held just one head coaching job at Fairmont State from 2017-2019. Following a two-year stint in the NCAA, Mazzulla joined the Celtics’ coaching staff as an assistant.
Boston is confident in Mazzulla’s ability to steer the ship this upcoming season, but they are looking for help from seasoned coaches.
Shortly after Boston promoted Mazzulla, reports indicated that the Celtics looked into acquiring Los Angeles Clippers assistant Jay Larranaga. Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix reported that Larranaga would remain with the Clippers after getting permission to speak with the Celtics.
The search for help won’t stop in Boston. According to NBA reporter Marc Stein, the Celtics have their eyes on two former head coaches to come in and help. Per Stein, Boston has former Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts and former Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel on their radar.
Of the two, Stotts has far more experience. With head coaching stints in Atlanta, Milwaukee, and Portland, Stotts was a head coach for over 1,000 games throughout 13 seasons.
As for Vogel, he held head coaching stints with the Indiana Pacers, Orlando Magic, and the Los Angeles Lakers. Unlike Stotts, Vogel’s resume comes with an NBA Finals victory during the 2019-2020 season with the Lakers.
Both candidates could be a big help to Mazzulla and the Celtics, but the chances of either prospect going to Boston to be an assistant seems far-fetched right now. According to Stein, “Boston is pessimistic about its chances” of landing Vogel or Stotts, considering the current head coach’s inexperience at the job.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for All76ers, a Sports Illustrated channel. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.