Clippers have ‘strong interest' in Celtics' Jeff Van Gundy: Report

Clippers have ‘strong interest’ in Celtics’ Jeff Van Gundy: Report originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Celtics reportedly are exploring the possibility of moving senior consultant Jeff Van Gundy to an assistant coach role next season.

But it sounds like they have some serious competition.

The Los Angeles Clippers have “strong interest” in hiring Van Gundy as an assistant coach on head coach Tyronn Lue’s staff, longtime NBA reporter Marc Stein reported Thursday, adding that L.A. has “a strong chance at succeeding in that pursuit after the NBA Finals are complete.”

Van Gundy and Lue have plenty of history: Van Gundy coached Lue on the Houston Rockets in 2004, while he and Lue were both on the Team USA staff at the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

Van Gundy has been a valuable resource for president of basketball operations Brad Stevens and the Celtics since joining the organization in October 2023. The former NBA head coach and ESPN color commentator has been a fixture at C’s practices and games throughout the season and even spent time working with the Maine Celtics in the G-League.

“It’s really cool because he has a non-biased perspective toward our organization,” Mazzulla said of Van Gundy after he was hired. “And as the season goes on, it becomes hard at times to take a 30,000-foot view, because you’re working with these guys every day and you’re in it, and you’re staff is in it.

“So to have a guy who can take a step back and see the organization from the outside … that’s a huge weapon to have.”

The Celtics already are losing top assistant Charles Lee, who recently accepted the Charlotte Hornets’ head coach job, while veteran assistant Sam Cassell has had multiple interviews for head coach openings as well. Losing Lee, Cassell and Van Gundy in the same offseason would be tough blow for Boston, but Mazzulla recently said he’s confident in the rest of the coaching staff and would plan to promote from within to fill Lee’s shoes.

“When you have the structure that we have as far as talented young guys, you just be as patient as you can knowing that there’s a process in order of how you try to go about doing it,” Mazzulla said in early May. “Especially when you want to keep as many people around as you can. So, just got to go through that process.”

The Celtics can secure their 18th championship Friday night with a win in Game 4 of the 2024 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks. Tip-off is set for 8:30 p.m. ET, with NBC Sports Boston’s coverage beginning at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live.

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