During the press conference, President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens was asked if he’d considered returning to the bench as the head coach for the upcoming season. However, Stevens, who was head coach of the Celtics between 2013-2021 was quick to shoot down that discussion point, noting that Joe Mazzulla was the best man for the job, and he did not consider a return to coaching to be good for any party involved.
“Joe’s the best choice to do that (take the role as head coach) by a long shot. As you go through this whole process, it hits you, but I think we have the best people in place to do that, and Joe is the best person to do that in our organization…Absolutely not (would he consider taking over as head coach)…There are a lot of factors at play as to why I wouldn’t necessarily want to do that, but I’ve told Joe that I’m going to be there for him without stepping on his toes,” Stevens said when he was asked about a potential return to the coaches bench.
As such, we can expect Stevens to remain in his front office position moving forward, meaning his current tasks continue to be figuring out how to fill Boston’s three available roster spots while working alongside the ownership group in a continued investigation into the issues surrounding Udoka.
Mazzulla Will be Boston’s Interim Head Coach
Shortly after the Celtics announced that Udoka would be suspended for the upcoming NBA season, news broke that assistant coach Joe Mazzulla would be taking the reigns as head coach with immediate effect.
During the Celtics’ September 23 press conference, Brad Stevens noted how the timing of the situation isn’t ideal for Mazzulla, who has no head coaching experience, but that he is the right man for the job.
“Joe’s going to be in charge. It’s not an easy timing for him or the rest of the staff. But he’s an exceptionally sharp and talented person. I believe strongly in him and his ability to lead people, his ability to galvanize a room and get behind him, and his ability to organize and understand all that comes with running a team during the season,” Stevens said.
Mazzulla, 34, has been with the Celtics since 2019 and got his first taste of being a head coach when he got the opportunity to lead Boston’s 2021 Summer League team – where he took them to the Summer League finals before losing to Davion Mitchell and the Sacramento Kings.
Robert Williams Recovery Timeline Revealed
In another blow to what is fast becoming a disaster off-season for the Celtics, Robert Williams’ recovery timeline from knee surgery has been extended. According to a press release from the team, Williams is now likely to be out for eight-to-twelve weeks before he can be cleared to return to basketball activities.
To be clear, that means until Williams is medically cleared, he will be unable to participate in team practices, so once doctors eventually sign off on his return, the bouncy big man will need to slowly ramp his fitness back up to a sustainable level before returning to the court.
Williams delayed recovery timeline is just another blow it what seems to be an endless list of issues crossing over Brad Stevens’ desk at the moment. An off-season that started so promisingly has now become a nightmare, and it shows no sign of ending.