How Damon Stoudamire’s departure negatively impacted Celtics

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How Damon Stoudamire’s departure negatively impacted Celtics, per report originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Coaching turnover was a tough obstacle for the Boston Celtics all season, and one departure in March reportedly had a big impact on the team.

Damon Stoudamire was hired as an assistant coach on the Celtics’ staff beginning with the 2021-22 season when Ime Udoka was brought in as the head coach. Following Udoka’s suspension and eventual exit, Stoudamire remained on the staff for the 2022-23 campaign as an assistant under newly promoted head coach Joe Mazzulla.

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But when the opportunity arose for Stoudamire to become the next head coach for the Georgia Tech men’s basketball team, the former NBA guard decided to leave the Celtics.

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His exit, according to a report from Jared Weiss and Jay King of The Athletic, was particularly impactful.

“Multiple team sources both on the roster and the staff said Stoudamire’s departure to lead Georgia Tech in March left a significant void in the team’s leadership structure,” Weiss and King wrote. “He was known for having a good feel for when and how to talk to players, understand their motivations, and pull from his own experiences when making recommendations for how the team should operate.”

Stoudamire was drafted No. 7 overall by the Toronto Raptors in 1995 and had an impressive career between four different teams over 13 seasons. His experience as a player made him a valuable voice for the guys on the Celtics roster.

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“It’s not like Damon had a certain power, but players really respected him,” one team source told Weiss and King. “Joe used Damon to have a guy that’s been here that’s played that can speak to them. Damon could speak their language and no one else on the staff can do (it).”

Forsberg: Celtics’ offseason begins with several pressing questions

Despite all the turnover the Celtics have experienced on their coaching staff over the last year, plenty more could be on the horizon.

The Celtics, per multiple reports, are expected to keep Mazzulla as the head coach. His staff could look very different, though. The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn reported Wednesday that Celtics assistant coaches Ben Sullivan, Aaron Miles, and Mike Moser are expected to leave in the offseason to join Udoka on the Houston Rockets staff.

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The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Tuesday that the Celtics likely will add some veteran assistants to Mazzulla’s staff.

“The impression I’m getting right now is the Celtics and Mazzulla will look more toward stacking and elevating his bench with more veteran assistants,” Charania said on FanDuel TV. “They need some depth on that staff. I think they’re going to look more toward that this offseason.”

Coaching is very important in the NBA, and it appears the Celtics will have some important hires to make this summer when filling out Mazzulla’s staff ahead of the 2023-24 season.

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