Upon being elevated to interim coach of the Celtics on Sept. 22 of last year, Joe Mazzulla was fairly green. He'd been a Boston assistant since the summer of 2019, but at just 34 years old was faced with shuffling his team's staff about a month before the start of the season.
Faced with this tall task, Mazzulla contemplated turning to an NBA lifer: former 15-year point guard JJ Redick. He documented his recruitment of the Duke legend on Redick's podcast, The Old Man & The Three, Wednesday morning.
Redick set up the story by recalling a trip to New England he'd taken last fall, interrupted when he received a call informing him Mazzulla was now coaching the Celtics.
Mazzulla eventually joined Redick for a round of golf, attempting to lure the budding multimedia star to Boston.
“I thought we had a chance at getting you,” Mazzulla said. “Then we go through the clubhouse, we walk out, and you’re like, ‘So when does training camp start?’ And I go, ‘Uh, Monday.’ And it was Friday.”
Joe Mazzulla tried to recruit @jj_redick to his staff after being named interim head coach of the Celtics.— TheOldMan&TheThree (@OldManAndThree) October 4, 2023
On the latest episode, they share the story behind the attempt 👇 https://t.co/t89PQZ65aR pic.twitter.com/swZMIBFkGT
Redick laughed, and Mazzulla continued to poke fun at his naïveté.
“I thought, ‘This guy put all this thought into wanting to coach and he doesn’t even know when the season starts,’” Mazzulla chuckled. “It was a good time, though. I knew you weren’t wasting my time, I thought you were authentic, I appreciated it.”
Without Redick, the Celtics improved by six games from the prior season to 57–25 but lost to the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals.