Post-game Reactions

The news come via Yahoo Sports, that Tom Thibodeau has earned a second interview:

With Avery Johnson’s candidacy essentially over, assistant coaches Tom Thibodeau and Monty Williams will get second interviews for the New Orleans Hornets’ head-coaching job, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Thibodeau and Williams – assistants with the Boston Celtics and Portland Trail Blazers, respectively – will meet again soon with Hornets general manager Jeff Bower, president Hugh Weber and owner Gary Chouest.

While Thibodeau and Williams are the leading contenders for the vacancy, it is still possible another coach out of the original pool of candidates will get invited to meet with Hornets officials again. The most likely possibilities still include Utah Jazz assistant Tyrone Corbin, former New Jersey Nets coach Lawrence Frank and television analyst Mike Fratello.

The news of the second interview, can’t come to a surprise to C’s fans as Thibodeau’s work has finally come to forefront once again this postseason. Great to see credit given where it is due.

Here’s my question though as a C’s fan. With all the uncertainity surronding Doc Rivers and his future coaching plans, it makes me wonder a couple things about Thibodeau.

1) Would he wait around for Doc to make a decision, before accepting a job elsewhere?

2) Would the Celtics give him the job, if Doc decides to walk away?

Two tough questions with no clear answers. The further the C’s go in this postseason, in my eyes, increase the chances of Doc being willing to walk away to spend some time with the family, especially if the C’s come through with the Championship next month. Mike Gorman has gone on record at CSN, saying the same thing.

As for question number 2, the obvious answer would be a clear cut yes. Yet, this as we all know, is a tough roster to manage during the regular season. Would Danny Ainge want a higher profile candidate that could better manage this roster, a la Rivers? And would that move make sense, if it comes at the loss of Thibodeau’s defensive mastermind?

All things considered, it will be interesting few weeks of speculation following the conclusion of this postseason, with far more questions than answers. Hopefully, there will be plenty other positive stories to distract C’s fans at the juncture.

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Brian Robb

Brian Robb co-founded CelticsHub in 2009 and is the currently editor-in-chief. He is a producer and reporter at 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston and also contributes to Boston.com and Bleacher Report among other outlets.
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  • DeVelaine

    Even if this is a tough group to manage in the regular season, I think that with having totally bought into Thibs’ defensive schemes, they’d listen to him if he was the head coach.

    It might take a bit more work to get newer players into the fold, but hell… As long as everyone understands that this is Rondo’s team, I don’t think issues will last long.

  • DRJ1

    Problem is, from what we’ve heard, this was a job this year that took all of Doc’s formidable interpersonal skills to navigate successfully. Tom is not likely to have anywhere near those kinds of skills. Which would make him unqualified to lead this particular group of guys. At least… that’s one line of thinking.

  • DeVelaine

    True, but a counter point to it is that with the trouble of this past regular season now in the past, there’s less likely going to be the need for all of that. Only way to know though it to wait and see.

  • Sweeney

    Being promoted from within is the toughest thing to do within any industry. Especially, when it is a first time position.

    Doc is out the door after this season. He leaves on a high note regardless of how it ends. Plus, when he sees his children graduate he will be in high demand to come back into the game. Setting himself up for major $.

    Next year is going to be even more difficult with an aging team and as DRJ1 stated so eloquently, there is a need for some formidable interpersonal skills. So whomever coaches has to be of that ilk with this team. There doesn’t seem to be anyone out there at this point who may not be chosen by that point in time.

    Avery, Scott, Franks, and Thibodeau are my choices once Doc leaves.

  • RBD

    This is a ridiculous idea but if Doc’s going to leave, and that’s hardly a sure thing, I would love it if Danny stepped in, coached for 1-2 years, and then brought Doc back.

    Obviously, this is all heart, no brain. I have a fondness for continuity, I suppose.

  • Jason

    Thibs clearly has earned his reputation and accordingly the privilege of applying to the highest level coaching position. That said, it bothers me. A lot.

    On the one hand, yes, it’s completely fair for him to aspire to whatever job he wants, but at the same time it’s completely unfair to the Celtics organization and fans. This is the important time of year, what they all planned for, what the players play for, what the fans cheer and pay for. It’s not greedy to say as a fan, at this time of the year, I expect everyone to keep his eye on the ball. We expect it of the players, right? If Rondo said during the playoffs that he’s spending sometime shooting a commercial, it’d be a major story with fire and brimstone from everyone with a soapbox. Look what happened to Carter for attending a graduation. That’s not even something he has to prepare for, just show up. Still, he was vilified for allowing the distraction. If TA was seen stumbling out of a nightclub at 2am last night, he’d be skewered.

    But coaches are allowed to stop their playoff preparations to prepare for another job. How is this a fair double standard?

    This is the generally accepted way it is, I know, but that doesn’t mean it’s right.

    I of course would endorse Thibs for any job, but just not now. It’s unfortunate, and maybe even unfair, he’s hamstrung by his own success, being busy working during the coaching interview season, but hey why does everything have to be fair? And isn’t he the highest paid assistant coach in the league? Is it fair for everyone to work this hard to get to this point, then have his attention split between his job duties and his career aspirations? Clearly, my opinion is no.

  • Ray Leighton

    I find it weird that the NBA permits this — some sports do not allow another team to interview a potential coach until after the playoffs, and I think that the NBA should have a similar policy. I can’t blame Thibs for wanting to interview for a head-coaching job, but it’s ridiculous that this is happening in the middle of the Eastern Conference Finals. Not really fair to anyone.

    I think that Thibs would have to be considered for the head-coaching vacancy if Doc leaves. Although it would be kind of tempting to bring Kevin back (I really prefer the idea of a former Celtic coaching the team) although his most recent stint wasn’t exactly confidence-inspiring. The other name that I am surprised is not involved in more of these discussions regarding the league’s coaching jobs is Mike Woodson. I realize that it might be “too soon”, but I would expect that young teams not yet in the playoffs would be rushing to interview him given the terrific job he did turning Atlanta from doormat to home-court advantage in the 1st round. I’m not sure how Woodson would fit in with the Celtics, but I think he’s probably one of the best unemployed coaches out there right now.

  • Thibs should be allowed be allowed to interview for a higher position. Any person should be able to strive to reach the highest level of achievement that they desire. He has done a GREAT job as defense coach for the Cs. The Celtics are poised to make the finals for the second time in three seasons which would be one more time than anyone could have reasonably expected from the age on their roster. Thibs did not make up the rules for interviewing for coaching vacancies so he shouldn’t be penalized for them either.

    If Rivers leaves, I hope Thibs is still there to take on the reigns because he has earned it. If he is not, then he deserves congratulations and good luck in his new endeavor…

  • DRJ1

    @Steph– If there were a rule against interviewing coaches before the end of the playoffs, it would be fair to everyone, including assistant coaches working for contenders (something the league, no doubt, never thought about).

  • dslack

    @DRJ1, I agree.

    @Ray, I think Kevin has done a pretty good job in his stints coaching the TWolves.

  • Jay Cutler

    I’m tickled at the sudden euphoria among Cs fans. While the Cavs and Magic were great regular season teams, the Lakers have arguably been the best team this season when everyone is healthy. Let’s not count #18 just yet. There will be a desire for revenge on the Lakers part. On the other hand I grow a little concerned by the Cs putting the team on Rondo’s back. Sure, other guys get involved but have you noticed how discombobulated the offense becomes when Rondo is on the bench? With Fish flopping to make his namesakes proud you can bet Rondo will be seeing a lot of downtime or Kobe.