Report: Udoka, Ham, Billups to get second interviews to be Celtics coach

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Brad Stevens cast out a wide net for his first round of interviews to fill his old job as Celtics coach. Internal candidates, former head coaches, top assistants from around the league all got a look.

Now we have some frontrunners, with a report of three candidates who will get a second interview. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN had the report.

The Boston Celtics’ coaching search remains focused in the ranks of assistants, with a wave of second interviews expected to come with Brooklyn’s Ime Udoka, Milwaukee’s Darvin Ham and the LA Clippers’ Chauncey Billups, sources told ESPN… Udoka, Ham and Billups are among the prominent candidates left in the search, but aren’t necessarily the full complement of the Celtics’ remaining list.

Those three men are on a lot the lists of a lot of teams with the seven job openings around the NBA. All three are top assistants seen around the league as people deservingly in line for a top spot.

Udoka was an assistant coach on the USA Basketball 2019 World Cup team, which featured Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart — the core of the current Celtics. Udoka received “strong reviews” from those players, according to Wojnarowski.

Billups is considered a frontrunner for the Trail Blazers job as well, and has been tied to other teams’ searches. He is still busy with his day job with the Clippers advancing to the Western Conference Finals. Ham, who has been one of Mike Budenholzer’s top assistants in Milwaukee for years and has been on the cusp of landing a head coaching job the past couple of years. Udoka, Billups, and Ham are all Black, something the Celtics reportedly consider a priority in the hiring process.

Boston is a coveted job because of the above-mentioned core; this team is seen as on the cusp of contending for a title with a couple of roster tweaks. That means a job that provides a great opportunity but with it great pressure, especially for a first-time head coach (which all three of these men would be).