Monday, July 1, 2013
Ainge in no hurry to fill coaching vacancy
By Chris Forsberg
BOSTON -- Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said the team has not made any progress in terms of filling its head coaching vacancy after the departure of Doc Rivers and reaffirmed that he is no rush.
"I don’t feel any pressure or any rush to go through that process," Ainge said Monday after the team introduced rookie draft picks Kelly Olynyk and Colton Iverson at a community event in Mattapan. "We’re through the draft, we’re all prepared for summer league, we have enough guys in the gym for our [players] now. We have our strength coaches. We have enough coaches around to work out our players when they come in. There’s just no urgency at all on that. So we’ll take our time."
The Celtics currently have only one holdover from the Rivers regime: second-year assistant Jay Larranaga, who will coach the team's summer squad in Orlando and draw heavy consideration for the head coaching position. Ainge admits there's been some outside interest in the job, but hasn't given the search much consideration after a busy week that saw Rivers' departure, a draft-night blockbuster that shipped out Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce and the draft itself.
As for those inquiring about the job, Ainge said, "There’s only 30 NBA head coaching jobs available and there’s a lot of coaches out of work out there, and a lot of good coaches I might add."
What type of coach is Ainge looking for?
"Not sure. I mean, I have an idea of what I want, but coaches are like players. You’re looking for Michael Jordan," Ainge said. "Everybody’s looking for a Michael Jordan coach. There’s coaches with all sorts of different kinds of strengths and weaknesses. I think I’m looking at all the different candidates out there that are available, and some guys that are not available, that are working other places that I’ll also consider."
After removing his name from consideration as coach last week, Ainge reaffirmed that he has no desire to coach the team next season. "Can I guarantee that? Yes. ... That's not in my future," Ainge said.
Read on for some other odds and ends from Ainge's chat with reporters on Monday:
* No midnight show: With a desire to cut salary and a roster already jam-packed with bodies, Ainge admitted the Celtics are content to sit out the start of a frenzied free agency period. "Free agency, right now, is not a priority for us," Ainge said. Later he added, "We don’t have cap space, and right now, we’re a team that is over the tax, so we have a mini midlevel [exception], that is all we could do right now and that’s not our priority. We feel like we have too many players, and we need to sort of clear our roster up." If the Celtics receive Keith Bogans as a sign-and-trade player from Brooklyn as part of the impending Garnett-Pierce trade, then Boston would appear to be hard-capped and will not be able to use that taxpayer's mini midlevel. The Celtics would still have the biannual and full midlevel exceptions available (so long as they stayed below the apron in using them), but Boston appears unlikely to throw long-term money at a free agent as it tries to create future space.
* A taxing situation: Celtics ownership has been willing to foot a steep luxury tax bill to allow the team to be as competitive as possible during the Big Three era. But if the 2013-14 season is focused on rebuilding, Ainge admitted the team would prefer to avoid the tax (particularly with repeater rates looming after the season). "It’s important [to avoid the tax]," Ainge said. "We don’t want to get into that repeater tax mode. But the good news about our team, and our owners in particular, they have proven a willingness to pay tax. But you don’t want to pay tax just to pay tax. But our ownership will pay tax if needed."
* A numbers game: Ainge on the team's release of guard Terrence Williams on Sunday: "We liked what Terrence brought to us last year. Terrence did a good job for us in the playoffs, especially late in the playoff series defensively. But we just have too many players. Simple as that; just a numbers game." The first portion ($200,000) of Williams' salary was set to be guaranteed if he wasn't waived by Sunday.