|Report: Jay Larranaga in the running for 76ers head coaching gig||07.17.13 at 8:06 pm ET|
Another Celtics assistant is drawing interest from one of Boston’s arch rivals.
Jay Larranaga, who was considered as a candidate to replace Doc Rivers before Brad Stevens was hired, has been contacted by the Philadelphia 76ers to interview for their vacant head coaching position.
Before joining Boston for the 2012-13 season, Larranaga spent the previous two seasons as head coach of the Erie BayHawks of the NBA Development League. In two seasons with the BayHawks, Larranaga led his squad to consecutive playoff appearances while posting a regular season record of 60-40. He also established team records for all-time wins (60) and wins in a season (32).
In Larranaga’s two years in Erie, eight different players received NBA call-ups. Prior to arriving in Erie, Larranaga served as an assistant coach at Cornell, and before that he was head coach of the Irish National team for two years. Larranaga spent the summer of 2012 as an assistant for the Ukraine National team under former NBA coach Mike Fratello before joining Rivers’ staff last season.
Yahoo! NBA writer and insider Adrian Wojnarowski was first with the story.
Boston Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga met with Sixers management to discuss head coaching job on Tuesday, league sources tell Y!
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 17, 2013
Larranaga, who reportedly met on Tuesday with the Sixers, is one of a list of candidates the 76ers are considering to replace Doug Collins, who resigned” after the team’s 34-win season that resulted in Philly missing the playoffs one season after losing a Game 7 to the Celtics in the Eastern semis.
Larranaga’s father, Jim, was the AP college coach of the year this past season, leading the Miami Hurricanes to its first-ever tournament title, an ACC win over North Carolina and an appearance in the NCAA Sweet 16.
Brian Scalabrine is in the midst of a very productive offseason.
The 35-year-old native of Long Beach, Calif., is returning closer to home after joining Mark Jackson‘s coaching staff with the Warriors. Scalabrine also is working as a spokesperson with 2 Gingers Irish Whiskey, and he served up the popular ‘Big Ginger’ cocktail behind the bar to excited patrons for three hours at Granary Tavern on Tuesday night in Boston.
‘Scal’ also sat down for a one-on-one interview with WEEI.com, and the former Celtic and Comcast SportsNet broadcaster shared his insight on topics ranging from the Celtics‘ championship in 2008, the bitter loss to the Lakers in 2010, and the work Danny Ainge has performed this summer. Scalabrine also quieted any speculation that he was in the running to replace Doc Rivers as coach in Boston.
“If four people would have passed on the Celtics, then I would have been interviewed to be the coach of the Celtics,” Scalabrine said. “But there’s no way four people were going to pass on that.”
Scalabrine was eager to share how greatly he evolved as a basketball player during his time with the Celtics.
“You have to look around at what you have,” he said. “That year [in 2007-08], we had Kevin Garnett directly from Minnesota coming in and changing the culture of our organization. He made sure guys were ready and focused. We could have fun in the locker room and joke around, but when it came to game time or practice, or the weight room or your individual time, it was time to lock in and get serious. Later on, on the bus or the plane, that’s when we could joke around. At the end of the day, we were about winning. We were about being successful.”
“I’m about having success in life, but also having fun. There’s a misconception that I joke around and I’m not serious about the game of basketball. I’m ultra-serious about the game. I like the challenge of working with young guys, making them better, and getting them ready for a championship-caliber type of team. It’s not about getting better so you can be mediocre. I’m about getting you better so we can win a championship. That’s my focus.”
|Armond Hill, Kevin Eastman, Tyronn Lue join Doc Rivers in Los Angeles||07.08.13 at 9:28 pm ET|
Armond Hill, Kevin Eastman and Tyronn Lue will be migrating west with Rivers as assistants on the Clippers staff. A close friend of Rivers – Alvin Gentry – was also named associate head coach on Monday.
Rivers was named the head coach and senior vice president of the basketball operations of the Clippers in mid-June and has been working on completing his staff since leaving Boston for LA.
Also leaving Boston is JP Clark, who will serve as the assistant players skills coach. The Clippers confirmed the hires on their Twitter page on Monday afternoon.
Clippers name Alvin Gentry Associate Head Coach & add Armond Hill, Kevin Eastman and Tyronn Lue as assistant coaches. http://t.co/L0hAgigOf4
‘ Los Angeles Clippers (@LAClippers) July 8, 2013
Gentry returns to Los Angeles for his third stint with the Clippers after serving as both head coach (2000-2003) and assistant coach (1990-1991).
Hill was one of Rivers’ main assistants in Boston over the past nine seasons. Before joining the Celtics, Hill was an assistant for the Atlanta Hawks during the 2003-04 season.Eastman joined the Celtics staff in Rivers’ second season in Boston and remained in Boston ever since.
Lue, who played in Los Angeles with the Lakers and won NBA titles in 2000 and 2001, spent the past four seasons on the Celtics bench, including the last two as an assistant coach. Lue will serve as the head coach for the Clippers summer league team in Las Vegas.
Clark spent last season with the Celtics in their player development department and also served as an assistant coach for the Celtics’ D-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.
ESPN/ABC basketball analyst Jeff Van Gundy joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to discuss the Celtics‘ offseason maneuverings.
The C’s pulled off a surprise move last week when they named Butler’s Brad Stevens their new coach.
“I think he’s a great, great basketball coach,” Van Gundy said. “I don’t think there will be too big an adjustment — or too big of an adjustment basketball-wise. This guy is really, really smart. I think their players will respect his confidence, his sincerity, his reliability and his trustworthiness. He’s a quality person and coach.
“Now, the difference is, you’re going to lose some, and maybe a lot, depending on the construction of the roster. That, coupled with the length of a season, is always a challenge in the NBA when you go through a rebuilding situation. But I think his demeanor and his poise, along with his contract, will serve him well through the rebuilding situation.”
Added Van Gundy: “I honestly think that this is not a risk. People say it’s a risk. I don’t think it’s a risk for anybody. When Brad Stevens is done with the Celtics in six years, 10 years, 15 years, he can always go back and get a great, great college job. And for the Celtics, it’s not a risk because this guy’s a great person and a great basketball coach. How they do record-wise over his tenure there is going to be not based on his coaching ability. His coaching ability will be fine. It’s going to be their roster. Can they get him a good enough roster to work with and win with? If they do, they’ll win there.”
Asked if he or his brother Stan were contacted about the Celtics’ opening, Van Gundy said: “I have no idea about my brother. I know I wasn’t. Hey, listen, I have such respect for the Celtics that anybody would be interested if the Celtics call. They just have a great, obviously, history, they have great ownership, they have great management. So, anybody would be interested.”
As the Celtics head into a rebuilding period, Van Gundy warned that people need to avoid becoming impatient as the long season wears on.
“There’s very few people — teams, fan bases, organizations, coaches, players — who really have the stomach for a long rebuild,” he said. “It sounds good in theory. But Boston was tiring of rebuilding until Danny Ainge pulled off the Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett trades. No one likes losing 18 straight games. This is where I thought Doc Rivers took unnecessary criticism. That he didn’t want to go through a long rebuild? He’d already done that. He’d already gone through that purgatory time in Boston. So, that he wouldn’t want to redo it again in Boston? I completely understand.
“There’s got to be a stomach for this rebuilding. And it really starts with the media, the management, the ownership. Because they’re so used to winning, that this may be a period of mediocrity. It may be that 41-40 record last year, that may be the norm. Or maybe they get a few more wins or maybe they get a few less wins, or maybe a lot less wins. You can’t just believe that in theory. You’ve got to be able to live through the dreary nights that are coming to the Boston Garden. And accept that this is part of the NBA, that you can’t stay great forever.
“I think that’s going to be the toughest adjustment for everybody. They’re coming off such a great period of winning, where they had the ultimate competitors in Garnett and [Paul] Pierce. So, to see them go, to see them go into the Eastern Conference. The whole thing is going to be difficult. And that’s where I think Brad’s demeanor will really help him. He’ll focus on trying to get better every day, incremental improvement. And if he can do that, I think he will have fulfilled his obligation to the Celtics very, very well.”
|Doc Rivers: ‘I was just getting tired’ of Bill Simmons’ criticism||06.28.13 at 1:45 pm ET|
Rivers objected to Simmons repeatedly saying he quit on the rebuilding Celtics, and said: “‘I would like to call him an idiot, but I’m too classy for that. That’s just his opinion. That didn’t happen. He really needs to know the whole truth, which he doesn’t.’
A day later, Rivers wasn’t backing down.
“Bill’s a fan,” Rivers told Patrick. “Is he qualified to do the NBA? Well, we can debate that all day. But Bill’s a fan. And I get that. Not a friend of mine or a fan of mine, and he never has been. I rarely respond. You know that. I don’t do it very often. But I’d just kind of had enough of that. I thought it kind of ruined the broadcast last night, ’cause he kept bringing it up. It was almost like he had an agenda. I was just getting tired of it.”
While acknowledging he fared well by moving to the Clippers, Rivers said the Celtics had a strategy and they stuck to it.
“I think last night happened exactly the way Danny the Celtics wanted it to,” he said. “They wanted to unload contracts for draft picks, and I happened to be one of those contracts.”
Added Rivers: “Clearly, yeah, I had a selfish motive. I had a chance to not rebuild and go to a team that is in a different phase of their franchise so everybody benefited. And I clearly, at least I hope, I benefited from it. But this is done together. This is not me walking into the Celtics and saying I quit or anything like that.”
Doc Rivers was part of the dismantling of the Celtics, but he insists his departure for the Clippers was not an indication of him quitting on a rebuilding team, despite the fact that team president Danny Ainge and owner Wyc Grousbeck have said that it was Rivers’ idea to consider a change after nine seasons on the Boston bench.
Asked at Thursday’s NBA draft for a response to ESPN’s Bill Simmons saying he quit on the C’s, Rivers dismissed the comment.
“I would like to call him an idiot, but I’m too classy for that,” Rivers told ESPN’s Shelley Smith. “That’s just his opinion. That didn’t happen. He really needs to know the whole truth, which he doesn’t.”
Responded Simmons, who was part of ESPN’s team at the draft: “The truth keeps changing. I mean, he’s given different quotes about this — he didn’t know, he did know, he kind of knew, he wanted the trade to happen, he was coming back, he needed a year off. When he sticks to his story, I’ll believe the truth.”
Added Simmons: “Just own it. Just admit what you did. The writing was on the wall, the Celtics wanted to rebuild, you didn’t want to be a part of it, you wanted to go to the Clippers, and it happened. Just own what you did.”
Rivers’ son Jeremiah, who played last season with the Maine Red Claws of the NBA D-League, took to Twitter to defend his father, tweeting multiple messages at Simmons. Wrote Jeremiah:
My father has never quit anything in his life. He now has an NBA Championship, and helped in rejuvenating the Celtics.
You know nothing about winning, about sacrifice, and being a champion. You sit behind a desk and pick on people.
You are an Internet bully. There is a reason nobody will side with you. They like my dad better than you.
If you don’t have all the facts, which you clearly DON’T, I suggest you sit down and shut up. Good day sir.
|Fact or fiction: Doc Rivers’ odd call to Boston media||06.26.13 at 8:41 pm ET|
So much for Doc Rivers not disputing Danny Ainge‘s take on the former Celtics coach’s departure to the Clippers. Two hours after telling the media in Los Angeles the only reason he’s coaching “is to win titles,” Rivers spun around in circles on a lengthy teleconference with reporters in Boston.
While Rivers should be lauded for his willingness to discuss his professional life and a decision he had every right to make — even interrupting the Clippers public relations staff when they tried to stop the call with “two more questions” — the 27-minute interview can only be described as confusing after Ainge and Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck shared similar opinions the last 24 hours about how it all went down.
So, let’s try to separate fact from fiction one quote at a time (thoughts in italics).