Joe Mazzulla will reportedly be back as Celtics head coach
BOSTON -- The Celtics' season ended well short of the franchise's goal of winning another title. But it doesn't look like the team's postseason shortcomings will cost Joe Mazzulla his job.
On an appearance on FanDuel TV on Monday, just a day after the Celtics lost Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals to the Miami Heat, Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium said that he believes the Celtics will be building around Mazzulla instead of looking for a fourth head coach in the last four years.
"The impression that I'm getting right now is that the Celtics and Mazzulla will look more toward stacking and elevating his bench with veteran assistants," said Charania. "They need some depth on that staff. I think they're going to look more toward that this offseason."
Another factor: Mazzulla's contract. Charania also threw out there at Mazzulla has $14 million coming his way over the next three years.
The 34-year-old was thrust into a difficult situation, taking over for the suspended Ime Udoka last September. The Celtics didn't announce the move until a few days before training camp, throwing Mazzulla right into the fire with a team that was considered by many to be the title favorites.
While Mazzulla had some growing pains during the regular season, the Celtics went 57-25 to earn the No. 2 seed in the East. Boston had the best record around the All-Star break, which earned Mazzulla the honor of coaching one of the All-Star teams. The Celtics also took the interim tag off Mazzulla around that time, and gave him an extension.
The postseason, however, exposed the struggles of the first-year head coach. He was reluctant to use timeouts when the Celtics really needed them, and he also turned some heads with his postseason rotations.
Mazzulla's job was thought to be in jeopardy when the Celtics fell into an 0-3 hole to the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, but the Celtics stormed back to win three straight and force a Game 7 on Monday night. Boston came up well short, falling to the Heat 103-84, but that turnaround may have saved Mazzulla's job.
"If he got swept, there would be a lot more questions," Charania said Tuesday. "But the fact that it did go to Game 7 allowed the Celtics to see that there is a little bit of runway, some potential."
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