Why Kara Lawson is emerging as a candidate for Boston Celtics job

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The moment Brad Stevens was promoted to president of basketball operations, the speculation began: who would be the Celtics’ next head coach? 

Among those whose name has been thrown into the mix is Kara Lawson, a former Celtics assistant, 13-year WNBA vet, and the current head coach of the Duke women’s basketball team. 

As CJ McMahon of Boardroom describes it, hiring Lawson wouldn’t just be monumental for the Celtics, but for the trajectory of sports in America as a whole.

“There’s a good chance we really do witness history in the weeks to come,” he writes. “And even if we don’t, the fact that female candidates are finally being seriously considered for top jobs with storied franchises is a huge and encouraging step forward.”

As McMahon notes, the conversation around women in the NBA has shifted in recent years, with many seeing it as a matter of when rather than if the league will ever welcome a female head coach. The consensus is that Lawson has the resume to get her there. 

A former WNBA champion and first-round pick, Lawson was reportedly a favorite in the Celtics’ locker room during her stint as an assistant coach during the 2019-20 season. 

Stevens himself even hinted at the possibility of Lawson when discussing the quality of female candidates for head coaching positions in the NBA. 

Lawson, for her part, said “you can chase a lot of rabbits down a lot of holes” when it comes to coaching speculation, saying she loved her time in Boston without explicitly shutting down the rumors.

Spurs’ assistant Becky Hammon is another name to be thrown into the Celtics rumor pool. Like Lawson, she is a former WNBA star with a deep resume both playing and coaching the game.

The fact that both Hammon and Lawson are both former players is certainly a plus, and Lawson herself has said that she felt a personal connection with both Jasyon Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the Celtics’ two franchise stars.

Whether or not Lawson gets — or even takes — the job, the growing consensus amongst the league is clear: a woman will be holding the big clipboard soon, and odds are she’ll be someone WNBA fans recognize.