The Celtics have a vacancy at head coach. Brad Stevens has moved up stairs, Danny Ainge has cleared his schedule for golf and the Celtics bench is unattended.
In the minutes after word of the shakeup on Causeway Street broke, names like Jason Kidd started to float around.
To quote Dennis Eckersley: “Yuck.”
Kidd wasn’t even a sexy name when he got his first head gig with the Nets and he was a star there! How is he a candidate now after he’s proven with two franchises that players like playing for him about as much as Celtics fans liked him blowing kisses before free throws? (We haven’t forgotten Jason!)
Kidd would be a monstrous step backward in the progress of the Boston Celtics. In the era of player liberation and movement, teams have to be able to sell themselves to the litany of superstars that hit the market each off season (or force their way out of Houston by pretending to be overweight. Either/or.) What do the Celtics have to sell players? Bad weather and basketball history. You hope one matters as much as the other, the right head coach could add some cache to the package.
There are other names that could move the needle. Sam Cassell, Chauncy Billups and Juwan Howard are all interesting candidates. Those are guys who, if they got the wagon moving in the right direction, could make the Celtics cool.
Who would I hire? I’d go hire the Duke basketball coach. No, not Coach K. (Or at least, not that Coach K.)
I’d hire Kara Lawson. Lawson, a Tennessee Volunteers great under the legendary Pat Summit, played 10 years in the WNBA, then worked for ESPN as a broadcaster. In 2019 she was hired as an assistant coach under Brad Stevens in Boston. Lawson made such an impression in her first coaching gig, that she parlayed one season in Boston into the head job of Duke women’s program.
Brian Scalabrine predicted this week that the Celtics would hire Lawson for the job. She made an impression on everybody during her time in Boston and her new boss would be the same as her old boss, Brad Stevens.
This would be a landmark hiring: the first woman to coach in a major professional sport. The Celtics are no strangers to NBA firsts, they drafted the first black player in league history and had the first black head coach in sports when Bill Russell was named player coach in 1966.
If you want to make a statement that this is a progressive franchise that is looking to the future and in the best interest of its players, fans and coaches. Hire Kara Lawson. She’s the right person for the job.
Sterling Pingree is the senior staff writer for Jeff Solari’s Maine Sports Chowdah newsletter and a co-host of the 3 Point Stance Podcast with NFL veteran Mike DeVito and Aaron Jackson. An avid golfer, Pingree has been a member for more than a decade at Bangor Muni. He is a native of Kingfield and was a 4-year letterman in basketball and baseball at Mount Abram High School.