Very soon, the 15 Days of Coaching Questions will end. Next coach of the
Celtics? We'll know by tomorrow or Wednesday if, as it now appears,
Rick Pitino will be moving his clipboards and motivational books to Merrimac Street.
Next coach of the Sixers? This afternoon, former Celtics candidate
Larry Brown will take that job. The intentions of Larry Bird? By
midweek, we'll know if the Legend will return to his home state
(Indiana) and collect a $ 4.5 million salary or take the unlikely route:
stay with the Celtics.
This is indeed
the week of decisions. Throughout New England, members of the Celtics'
most recent coaching staff will await word of what they will do next.
First assistant Dennis Johnson will be by the phone, waiting to hear if
he will serve the remaining two years of his contract here. If not,
he'll head to his home in Orlando and wait for his agent to land him
some coaching interviews. K.C. Jones and John Kuester, the other Celtics
assistants, also will wait and see if they are in the new Celtic
M.L. Carr will be waiting,
too. Last weekend, he again repeated that his goal is to see title
banner "No. 17 raised to the rafters." But will Carr do that as director
of basketball operations? Or will he become more active in the
executive vice president side of his job?
of the board Paul Gaston did not want to comment on team issues when he
was reached at his Connecticut home last night. But 15 days after Carr
announced he was going to relax in the Carolina sand, things finally
appear to be coming into focus for the Celtics.
Players have been whispering all week that they hear Pitino
is on his way to town. There was no hushed talk last night in a
Lexington, Ky., gym. Antoine Walker may be a rookie, but he got a head
start on his teammates by hanging out with the man who may be his coach
A Walker sighting in Kentucky
is not unusual, considering that he played for the Wildcats and helped
them win the 1996 NCAA title. His timing, though, is perfect. Remember:
this is Decision Week. Walker is in Kentucky at the same time Pitino
is expected to tell his players of his whereabouts next season. And,
once again, Walker wanted everyone to know that he has no problems with Pitino. You wonder if he would persist at making that point if Pitino were not going to be his coach. You also wonder if Pitino
would have been so quick to call Walker's agent, David Falk, if he
didn't think the best player of his potential next employer might leave
in two years.
If the final decisions include Pitino in Boston, the next phase of questions will focus on the turnaround powers of a coach. When Pitino
was in New York, he took a 24-win Knick team in 1987 and turned it into
a 38-win squad in '88. Then he pushed that team to the 52-win level and
a division title in '89. He also had Patrick Ewing and Rookie of the
Year Mark Jackson.
Many will want the
coach to do the same here. But he has to come here first. Will he or
won't he? Everyone will know in the next 48 hours.