Boston Celtics

How Jeff Van Gundy landed in Boston, and how he can help Celtics

Van Gundy will provide a unique perspective after decades as a head coach and broadcaster.

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The Boston Celtics spent the offseason adding talent and experience to their roster and coaching staff, now they’ve beefed up their front office by adding Jeff Van Gundy as a senior basketball consultant.

The team says Van Gundy will oversee all levels of the organization, including the Maine Celtics. His basketball resume is expected to help him touch every corner of the organization.

"It's good to get a guy who hasn't been here before that can kind of have an unbiased opinion as to where he thinks things are, and where they need to go,” said Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla. "And so he's kind of like a fresh set of eyes because he's not around all the time. And he's looking at it from an unbiased position, which kind of gives us an advantage because you kind of see it in a different perspective.”

The Celtics beefed up Mazzulla’s bench this offseason by adding veteran assistants Charles Lee and Sam Cassell. Mazzulla sat in on some of the meetings with Van Gundy before he was hired and gushed about what Van Gundy can bring the team.

"Oh, it’s awesome. Any time you can add high character, high level, professional people, I think it's a no-brainer,” said Mazzulla. "So, fortunate enough that he's here, not just for the coaching staff, but for everybody.

“He's been through every imaginable situation in the NBA, in coaching, FIBA, NBA and so we're just lucky to have him. And he’s a great listener and a great worker. So he's added a lot of value, even in the first couple of weeks.”

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Van Gundy spent the better part of two decades coaching for the Knicks and Rockets. Even after transitioning to television, he spent summers working with Team USA.

The Celtics reached out quickly after Van Gundy was removed from ESPN’s top broadcast team this summer.

Mazzulla stressed that Van Gundy will assist all corners of the organization

"He won't be on the bench, but when he's here, he'll be in every meeting,” said Mazzulla. “He’ll be at games when he's here. And just, again, looking at it from like a bird's eye view. So an unbiased perspective and approach with a lot of experience and a great listener.”

Oshae Brissett noted that Van Gundy has already been interacting with players during his visits to Boston this preseason.

“He’s been here, helping out, just dropping some words of wisdom,” said Brissett. "He’s been around the game for a very, very long time. But right now I feel like he’s really just observing and, as we get into the nitty gritty of the season, I feel like he’ll do a lot more. Really help out and talk to us and stuff.”

ESPN remade its top broadcast trio this offseason. Ironically, it was former Celtics coach Doc Rivers, who joined that group after being dismissed by the Philadelphia 76ers, imploring the Celtics to move quick to hire Cassell this offseason.

"It was very simple. [Rivers said], 'If you don't hire him, someone else will,’” recalled Mazzulla. “And so Doc spoke very highly of him and it was very, like, it's a no-brainer. So that was it."

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