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Last offseason, Tom Thibodeau vacated his role as an assistant on the Celtics bench to take the head coaching job in Chicago, where he led the Bulls to 62 wins and was named the NBA Coach of the Year.
In a similar move, Lawrence Frank is leaving the Celtics’ coaching staff for Detroit, where he was named the Pistons’ head coach last week. Frank only spent a year as an assistant under Doc Rivers and was an adequate replacement for Thibodeau, who was regarded as the mastermind behind Boston’s shutdown defense. The rebuilding Pistons are certainly hoping that with a year under Rivers’ tutelage, Frank can bring to the table something similar to what Thibodeau brought to the Bulls in leading them to the East’s best regular season record.
So where does that leave the Celtics? Like a year ago, Rivers will have to look for an appointment for his coaching staff. While to many teams this may not be top news, the success of Thibodeau and Frank make clear to Boston fans that the position of assistant coach is of the utmost importance to the C’s.
One rumor that has begun to circulate is that Frank’s place could be taken by Larry Brown, who led the Pistons to their 2004 NBA title. In addition to his ring, Brown has 1,275 NBA victories and a 1988 NCAA title with Kansas on his resume, but is without a job after being relieved of his duties in Charlotte by Michael Jordan last December. But even at 70 years of age, Brown still wants to coach, and according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, wants in on the Celtics job.
Brown and Rivers have long had a good relationship, and reportedly back in 2007, the two almost worked out a deal for Brown to join Rivers’ staff, but Brown ultimately chose to stay onboard with the 76ers. It is clear that a head coaching job, in neither the NBA and in the NCAA, does not lie in Brown’s future, as he has expressed interest in several Division 1 jobs but not been considered a serious candidate. Thus, if Brown wants to still coach, it will have to come as an assistant. With the Celtics in particular, Wojnarowski reports that a league source close to Brown told him that Brown “would do (the Celtics job) for less than the going rate.”
With his past success and ticket punched to the Hall of Fame, Brown would certainly be the exciting appointment for fans. However, it is just as likely that the Celtics will turn to an internal source to promote to Frank’s position, with the likely candidates being Mike Longabardi, Kevin Eastman, and Armond Hill.