Paul Silas, former NBA All-Star and head coach, dead at 79

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Paul Silas, the longtime NBA coach who won two championships as a player with Boston and another with Seattle in the 1970s, has died. He was 79.

Silas was a two-time All-Star and five-time All-Defensive team selection over 16 NBA seasons as a rugged power forward with the Hawks, Celtics, Supersonics, Suns, and Nuggets. A three-time All-American at Creighton, Silas was elected to the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017.

“I am very sad to report that the great Paul Silas has died at age 79. To watch him play was a joy. To be his friend was an honor,” longtime Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan tweeted on Sunday morning.

Paul Silas, who won two NBA championships as a player for the Celtics, has died at the age of 79.
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Paul Silas (35) playing for the Celtics in 1975.
Paul Silas (35) playing for the Celtics in 1975.
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Silas was named head coach of the Clippers — then located in San Diego — soon after his retirement in 1980, and he later served as an assistant with the Knicks and the Nets from 1988-95. He also was a head coach with the Hornets (in both Charlotte and New Orleans), the Cavaliers — including LeBron James’ first two NBA seasons — and the Bobcats, finishing with a career record of 387-488.

“RIP to Hall of Famer, 3X NBA Champion, and my guy Paul Silas,” Magic Johnson tweeted. “Paul made a huge contribution to the game of basketball and will be sorely missed! Cookie and I send our prayers and condolences to the entire Silas family.”

Silas’ son Stephen has been the head coach of the Rockets since 2020. According to Mark Berman of Houston’s Fox affiliate, John Lucas will coach the Rockets’ game Sunday night against the Bucks in Houston.

Paul Silas (r.) with Tom Heinsohn (l.) during a ceremony honoring the Celtics' 1976 NBA title on April 13, 2016.
Paul Silas (r.) with Tom Heinsohn (l.) during a ceremony honoring the Celtics’ 1976 NBA title on April 13, 2016.
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Paul Silas as head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats on Feb. 29, 2012.
Paul Silas as head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats on Feb. 29, 2012.
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Paul Silas as Charlotte Bobcats coach with Clippers player Kenyon Martin (2) on Feb. 11, 2012.
Paul Silas as Charlotte Bobcats coach with Clippers player Kenyon Martin (2) on Feb. 11, 2012.
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“Paul Silas was a giant in basketball circles. A great man,” former NBA player Rex Chapman tweeted. “Was fortunate to spend a couple of seasons with Paul when he was an asst coach with the Suns. I don’t know anyone with a bad word to say about him — ever. A sad day. My heart is with Stephen and the family. Rest, Paul.”


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