The Boston Celtics underwent some seismic changes within the organization on Wednesday morning. Longtime exec Danny Ainge retired and stepped down from his front office role, while Brad Stevens left his head coaching post to become the team’s new President of Basketball Operations. With the move, the 44-year-old left behind one of the most intriguing vacancies in professional sports.
Soon after the news broke, Celtics All Star Jayson Tatum appeared to express his preference for the team’s new head coach: current team assistant Evan Turner.
Turner, who just joined Boston’s staff this past fall soon after his retirement, tweeted out a message to his following after the Celtics busy morning, affirmatively saying that any rumor connecting him to the head coaching vacancy was “absolutely false.”
Tatum was quick to respond and sounded a little bit disappointed at the 32-year-old’s statement. He said that he “was hoping” that the rumors about Turner succeeding Stevens were true.
Was hoping they would be true https://t.co/g7hdWzI1B2
— Jayson Tatum (@jaytatum0) June 2, 2021
Turner and Tatum might’ve been facetious with their tweet exchange on Wednesday, but the former No. 2 overall pick certainly has the potential to earn a head coaching job one day, whether that comes with the Celtics or elsewhere. Although he never quite met expectations as a player, Turner has the tools to succeed on the sidelines moving forward.
“He’s a special guy, and obviously a really good player at a lot of places,” Stevens said about Turner in December, per NBA.com. “He just loves to be around the game, and really loves to help people. He’s got a real service-orientedness to him.”
Tatum will have to await the hire of a new head coach this offseason, a process which Stevens will reportedly have a large hand in. The 23-year-old wing is fresh off of a strong series against the high-powered Brooklyn Nets and will now need a new leader on the sidelines to get the Celtics over the hump and into the NBA Finals.
According to Yahoo’s Chris Haynes, Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Jason Kidd and former Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce are two early candidates for the opening in Boston.