The Nets, as an organization, assume that there will be a market for at least three of their assistant coaches: Mike D’Antoni, Jacque Vaughn and Ime Udoka. Just last year, for example, all three were candidates for the then-open Pacers head coaching job.
Now, ESPN reports that three teams are already interested in D’Antoni, the Nets offensive coordinator as well as Steve Nash’s coaching mentor.
Per league sources, #Nets assistant coach Mike D’Antoni is receiving interest for the #Blazers, #Celtics and #Magic HC jobs. The Nets will grant interview requests for D’Antoni — following the playoffs.— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) June 9, 2021
Such permissions are often put off until after a team’s playoff run to avoid distraction. Meanwhile, Sam Amick of The Athletic reports that D’Antoni is interested in the Blazers job, but it’s uncertain if the feeling is mutual.
As the Trail Blazers begin their search for Terry Stotts’ replacement, and with Damian Lillard’s future in Portland suddenly part of the conversation, a new and intriguing name emerges: Mike D’Antoni. Details here, at @TheAthleticNBA https://t.co/gw2azzrvOd— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) June 10, 2021
D’Antoni, of course, has been a head coach in Denver, Phoenix, New York, Los Angeles and Houston and has a 718-555 coaching record, getting to the Western Conference Finals three times. He’s also been the assistant head coach for Team USA in Beijing and London.
The question is whether D’Antoni, now 70, would want to start over in a small market like Portland, Orlando or Indiana which is likely to part ways with Nate Bjorkgren. Boston might be more appealing but it’s also likely to be the most attractive of the openings. (It’s even possible, perhaps likely, that two of Nash’s assistants could be competing for top jobs.)
The Nets are unlikely to stand in his way — or in the way of any of their assistants. Sean Marks may not have been happy to lose Trajan Langdon, his assistant GM, to New Orleans and the Pelicans GM job, but was happy to see him advance and succeed.
On Wednesday, Adrian Wojnarowski reported Udoka is also a candidate for the Celtics job along with Chauncey Billups and others, both inside and outside the Celtics organization.
- Celtics reportedly interested in Nets assistant Mike D’Antoni - Andy Hart - WFAN
- Boston Celtics to interview NBA assistants in coaching search, including LA Clippers’ Chauncey Billups, sources say - Adrian Wojnarowski - ESPN
- Source: Mike D’Antoni interested in Blazers head coaching position - Sam Amick - The Athletic NBA