Brad Stevens hasn’t narrowed down a list of finalists for his replacement yet, but some fans have offered him some advice.
A new billboard — paid for by Six Star Pro Nutrition — was placed near the Celtics’ practice facility and calls for Stevens, Boston’s new president of basketball operations, to hire a female coach, either Kara Lawson or Becky Hammon, after Stevens was promoted to replace Danny Ainge.
“Hey Brad, it’s time to shake it up,” the billboard reads. “Hire Kara or Becky!”
Hammon and Lawson have both been popular choices online to take over at the helm. Stevens is looking both inside and outside of the organization to fill his former position. Rumors have circulated about Stevens requesting interviews with Bucks assistants Darvin Ham and Charles Lee, the Lakers’ Jason Kidd, and Nets assistant Ime Udoka, among others. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, neither Lawson nor Hammon were among those initially listed as candidates.
Stevens has previously given glowing reviews to both Lawson and Hammon. In April, he spoke highly of Lawson and her time with the Celtics: “Kara Lawson is a star,” he said. “We couldn’t hardly keep her here.”
Lawson began her coaching career as an assistant for the Celtics between 2019-20 before taking up the head coaching post of Duke’s women’s basketball team. She recently spoke about the rumors to Bleacher Report, but neither confirmed or denied whether she has been approached.
“I’ve done really well in my career by focusing on myself in the moment,” she said. “I loved my time in Boston. I loved coaching those players. It was a special time in my life. The speculation, you can chase a lot of rabbits down a lot of holes.”
While Stevens said she does not know Hammon well, he has spoken highly of the Spurs’ six-season assistant coach.
“Becky obviously is a terrific candidate [for a head coaching role],” he said in 2020. “I know what people think about her, and I know how well she is respected all across the league by the players and the coaches.”
Hammon has already made history as the first woman to coach an NBA team during a game on Dec. 20, after Gregg Popovich was ejected in the second quarter. In addition, she was the first female head coach in the NBA Summer League, and the first woman to win a Summer League title.
However, Hammon might soon be out of the running as she and Chauncey Billups, another speculated candidate to replace Stevens, will interview with the Portland Trail Blazers for their head coaching position this week. Moreover, the Orlando Magic have also pegged her as a possible new head coach.
When asked about the billboard by the Boston Globe, Jarrod Jordan, the chief marketing officer for Iovate Health Sciences Inc., the parent company of Six Star Pro Nutrition, discussed the importance of diversity in basketball and the Celtics’ opportunity to not only hire an extremely qualified coach, but also to make history.
“We wanted to highlight two outstanding candidates and a moment in history in which both are supremely qualified based on the context of their basketball resume,” Jordan said. “Boston’s basketball franchise made history in 1966 by making Bill Russell the first African American head coach in a major North American men’s sports league. Six Star would love to see yet another groundbreaking hire in 2021.”
While Stevens has yet to find a new head coach, he joked about one piece of advice for his successor at a June 2 press conference: “be better than the last guy.”