One name may already be out of the running in the Boston Celtics’ coaching search, but two others have emerged as early contenders.
Celtics assistant coach and former NBA guard Evan Turner’s name was thrown around on social media as a possibility for the head-coaching vacancy, but he called the speculation “absolutely false.”
Meanwhile, Jason Kidd and Lloyd Pierce are expected to be candidates for the job, according to Yahoo Sports.
Jayson Tatum clearly would have been on board with Turner becoming the head coach as the Celtics star tweeted in response to Turner that he “was hoping” the rumors were true.
The Celtics announced Wednesday that Brad Stevens is moving from head coach to president of basketball operations, replacing the retiring Danny Ainge. The shakeup came less than 24 hours after Boston was eliminated by the Nets in a five-game first-round series.
Turner, who played with the Celtics from 2014-16 and retired from the NBA in November, joined Stevens’ staff ahead of this season.
Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga and Becky Hammon, the Spurs assistant coach who became the first female acting head coach in league history earlier this season, could potentially be options.
Kidd, the former Nets great and Basketball Hall of Famer, joined the coaching ranks with Brooklyn in 2013 and went 44-38 that season.
After being denied more managerial powers with the Nets that offseason, he left to coach the Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo, but was fired halfway through his fourth season.
While Kidd was seen as a popular head-coaching candidate, he joined the Lakers as an assistant and won an NBA title with Los Angeles in 2020.
Pierce, the second reported candidate for the Celtics head coaching job, was fired by the Hawks in March after going 14-20 in his first 34 games this season.
The Hawks rebounded under new coach Nate McMillan to finish the season, 41-31, clinching a first-round playoff matchup with the Knicks.
Pierce reportedly is well-liked among players and coaches around the league, and has a reputation as a developmental coach, though it’s unclear if Boston is willing to go with that type of coach having made the postseason every year but one since 2008.
Other names being thrown into the coaching mix include former NBA players Chauncey Billups and Sam Cassell.
Billups, who currently serves as assistant coach of the Clippers, was drafted by Boston with the third-overall pick in the 1997 draft, and later traded midway through his rookie season.
Cassell played for the Celtics from 2007-2008 before he retired and became a coach. He joined Sixers head coach Doc Rivers’ staff as an assistant in 2020.