Antoine Walker ‘Toine may or may not have been joking when he tweeted word that he wants to be the next coach of the Celtics. Not so long ago, Walker teamed with Paul Pierce to form an effective one-two punch that led the Celtics to the 2002 Eastern Conference Finals. Life has been hard on Walker, but if he can get his act together, he could have the Celtics leading the league in 4-pointers in no time.
Phil Jackson probably isn’t walking through that door, but he is interested in coaching again. His well-publicized attempt to become Lakers coach last year made that clear. Surely, leading the most accomplished franchise in NBA history would be intriguing to the only coach who has won more titles than Red Auerbach. No word on how his girlfriend, Jeanie Buss, executive vice president of business operations for the Lakers, would feel about it.
Jerry Sloan recently signed back on with the Utah Jazz in an advisory role, but he has been trying to get back into coaching since he resigned as Jazz coach in 2010. Sloan reportedly turned down several job offers because he was searching for the right situation. What could be a better situation than the franchise with 17 championship banners?
Alex Jensen, don’t worry about the outdated photo, which comes from Jensen’s playing days at the University of Utah. Jensen has been flying under the radar for years as Rick Majerus’ protégé. After four years learning under his former college coach at Saint Louis University, Jensen landed his first professional coaching gig with the D-League’s Canton Charge in 2011. He won D-League Coach of the Year honors this year.
Vinny Del Negro, enough bad coaches have been rehired by careless teams to rule out Del Negro returning to an NBA bench at some point. Celtics fans can only hope it isn’t their team’s bench, as Del Negro ended his tenure with the Clippers in ridicule. He would be a quick, uninspired pick, but the Celtics could try to sell the Clippers’ 56 wins last season as Del Negro’s doing, rather than Chris Paul’s.
Armond Hill, one of the guys in the photo above has not won the NBA Coach of the Year award, but now could be his time. Hill occasionally took over head coaching duties from Rivers for select games in recent years, and while the nine-year Celtics assistant is soft-spoken, his is universally respected among his players. He also has head coaching experience, having spent eight years at Columbia.
Stan Van Gundy, some people would love this move. Some people might hate it. There is no question Van Gundy can coach, but his methods and manner have rubbed some players and reporters the wrong way. He has spent his time away from the game offering his opinions to anyone who asks (and some who haven’t), so beat reporters would look forward to his news conferences, if nothing else.
David Fizdale, Tom Thibodeau held the title as the NBA’s best assistant coach for a spell, and Warriors assistant Mike Malone claimed it once Thibodeau became the head man in Chicago. Now Malone is the head honcho in Sacramento, and Fizdale is the consensus pick as the best assistant in the game. He was Heat coach Erik Spoelstra’s right-hand man while Miami reached three straight NBA Finals and won back-to-back titles.
Lionel Hollins, after guiding the Grizzlies to 56 wins and the Western Conference Finals, Hollins has been out of work far too long. Since he and Memphis parted ways, Hollins has been connected with openings in Denver, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, although it is not known how seriously any of them are considering him for the job. In Boston, Hollins would find an organization that shares the “grit and grind” mentality his fostered with the Grizzlies.