Odds to Be Next Celtics Head Coach After Brad Stevens Moves to Front Office – Kidd, Billups & Griffin Among Favorites

Brad Stevens

Boston Celtics Brad Stevens reacts during the first half of Game 1 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets Saturday, May 22, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)

  • Boston is searching for a new head coach after the Celtics promoted Brad Stevens to take over as President of Basketball Operations for the recently retired Danny Ainge
  • Longtime assistant Jay Larranaga is favored to be Boston’s new bench boss, while Ime Udoka is an intriguing longshot candidate
  • Read below for odds and analysis on who is likely to become the Celtics next head coach

The Boston Celtics surprised the basketball world on Wednesday, announcing head coach Brad Stevens would be leaving his role to become the team’s new President of Basketball Operations. The opening was created after Danny Ainge announced his retirement, ending his run as the third longest tenured active lead Executive of an NBA team.

Now the search for a new head coach begins, and online sportsbooks have installed a current member of the organization as the lead candidate.

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Odds to Be Next Celtics Head Coach

Candidate Odds
Jay Larranaga +400
Jason Kidd +600
Chauncey Billups +600
Adrian Griffin +700
Lloyd Pierce +800
Sam Cassell +800
Ime Udoka +1000
Kenny Atkinson +1200
Alvin Gentry +1200
Jay Wright +1200
Nate McMillan +1200
Scott Morrison +1400
Doc Rivers +1400
Mike D’Antoni +1400
Mike Krzyzewski +5000
Chris Holtmann +5000
Larry Bird +10000
Rick Pitino +10000

Odds as of June 2nd

Longtime assistant coach Jay Larranaga is the current favorite, followed by Hall-of-Famer Jason Kidd and Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups. The odds board also includes a few names that have virtually no shot of getting the job, as well as an interesting longshot candidate.

The Cross-Offs

Let’s go ahead and cross Coach K, Larry Bird and Rick Pitino off the list. Pitino’s tenure as Boston’s head coach over two decades ago was a disaster, and hiring him would be a PR nightmare after the scandals he was a part of at Louisville.

Coach K, meanwhile, just announced that he plans to retire after the upcoming college basketball season, meaning he’s already committed to one final year at Duke. Larry Legend hasn’t coached since 2000, and a return to the sidelines seems improbable after health problems forced him to step away as the Indiana Pacers President of Basketball Operations in 2013.

Ohio State bench boss Chris Holtmann is more likely to succeed Krzyzewski at Duke than he is to step in for Stevens, while Doc Rivers is already coaching a more talented team in Philadelphia.

The Favorites

Which bring us to the favorites. Larranaga’s Celtics coaching career predates Stevens’, and he was actually interviewed for the Boston head coaching vacancy that Stevens filled. He has some head coaching experience in the G-League, and as the longest tenured Celtics coach, no one will have more institutional experience than him, which could help sway the needle in his direction.

Don’t be fooled by the Kidd hype, as his previous head coaching stops didn’t yield a ton of success. He compiled a 183-190 record between four seasons with Brooklyn and Milwaukee, and his time with the Bucks was tumultuous. The Celtics are in win now mode, and can’t afford to find out if Kidd was the real problem in Milwaukee.

Adrian Griffin is an interesting name to consider, but he isn’t generating nearly the buzz that someone like Billups is. Billups’ decorated playing career and high basketball IQ makes him an intriguing candidate, as does his connections with many current Celtic players. He’s in his first year as an assistant with the Clips, but ultimately Stevens might choose someone with a bit more coaching experience.

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Is It Finally Ime Udoka’s Time?

One name that checks that box is Brooklyn assistant Ime Udoka. He’s in his first season with the Nets, but has a wealth of coaching experience. Udoka spent seven seasons under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio, before moving to Philadelphia to become Brett Brown’s top assistant. He’s considered a fantastic defensive coach, and was a strong candidate to get the Sixers job after Brown was fired, but the team ultimately chose Rivers instead.

He’s a rising star in the coaching ranks, and given his experience, coupled with the defensive emphasis the Celtics have placed on their current roster construction, he’s definitely worth a bet at +1000 odds.

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Chris Amberley

Sport Writer & Editor