Analyst foresees Brad Stevens mulling a Joe Mazzulla firing if Boston Celtics don't win it all

Miami Heat v Boston Celtics - Game One
Miami Heat v Boston Celtics - Game One / Winslow Townson/GettyImages

Pounding The Rock's Jeph Duarte believes Brad Stevens can consider removing Joe Mazzulla from his Boston Celtics head coach position if the Cs don't win it all at the conclusion of the 2024 postseason.

"Mazzulla’s team clinched the top seed in the league and he is riding high with a blessed mix of superstars, stars, and solid bench players galore, but his success could very well hinge on this year being the year of the year," Duarte prefaced before saying, "While Boston’s roster is solid, not bringing home the Larry O’Brien could make Brad Stevens and the Celtics front office rethink next year’s plan, especially in the event of an upset similar to last year’s Eastern Conference Finals disappointment."

The context of a potential Celtics postseason flameout is key. Should Boston reach the Finals and bow out to Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets, or another Western Conference power like the Minnesota Timberwolves or the upstart Oklahoma City Thunder, then it's fair to consider changes around the fringes to increase depth, or even a Derrick White trade to bring in a more attack-minded offensive weapon.

Fall to the Miami Heat in the first round, or even fall short before the Eastern Conference Finals, though, and the idea of firing Mazzulla is very much on the table.

Boston Celtics firing Joe Mazzulla would be a shame, but also a business decision

Letting go of Mazzulla would be a business decision for Stevens if the Celtics underperformed because this roster is as good as it gets, and falling short really isn't an option -- but it'd be a damn shame if that happened after the second unit went from a question mark to a strength in 2023-24.

Payton Pritchard made his four-year, $32 million deal a bargain, and Sam Hauser emerged as a legitimate playoff rotation piece. This doesn't even scratch the surface of all the bit players who thrived in their role.

If Mazzulla is let go, Jeff Van Gundy is waiting in the wings. The former New York Knicks coach was a big reason why the stay-ready group stayed ready, and he'd certainly command respect as a former Eastern Conference Championship head coach in 1999 in the Big Apple.