Jeff Van Gundy gives Boston Celtics uncomfortable problem as offseason begins

Jeff Van Gundy chose the morning after the Boston Celtics' championship win to announce his next move
Jeff Van Gundy chose the morning after the Boston Celtics' championship win to announce his next move / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

Jeff Van Gundy had a role waiting for him on Joe Mazzulla's Boston Celtics staff for the 2024-25 season, but the morning after the Cs clinched their first NBA Championship since 2008 and just their second since 1986, the ex-ESPN commentator took a job as Ty Lue's lead assistant on the Los Angeles Clippers.

Talk about a hangover problem Celtics fans must think about after a night of celebrating Banner 18.

Van Gundy was a key figure in the growth of the C's "stay-ready" group, Payton Pritchard, Sam Hauser, Luke Kornet, and the rest of the team's second unit, during the 2023-24 season. Boston was also a key symbol in Van Gundy's life turning around after facing the loss of several family members and friends and the loss of his job at ESPN in 2023.

“I was really in an awkward place in life, not really knowing where I was going or what my purpose was, or how I’d be with this new group of people where I didn’t know anyone," Van Gundy said of his life before being hired by the Celtics (h/t MassLive). "It’s been one of the most rejuvenating things I’ve ever gone through. Brad Stevens and Joe Mazzulla threw me a lifeline.”

Why did he leave after reaching the mountaintop for the first time in his career, then?

Jeff Van Gundy leaving Boston Celtics makes all the sense in the world

The timing of Van Gundy leaving may sting, but in truth, it makes sense for him and shouldn't be seen as too much of a negative for the Cs. The "stay-ready" group was de-emphasized in the Finals, which was won on the strength of Boston's all-time starting lineup, and it's likely he was going to leave at some point in the offseason anyway.

Why wait until the timing is "right?" The NBA is a quick-moving business.

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Van Gundy is sitting in the catbird seat to be the Clippers' next coach. If Lue fails, fans will be clamoring for the champion senior consultant to take over.