Former NBA player, coach Paul Silas dies at 79

Former NBA player and coach Paul Silas has died, his family announced Sunday.

He was 79.

As a player, Silas, who played 16 seasons in the NBA, won three NBA titles(two with the Celtics, one with the Sonics) and was a two-time All-Star.

During his playing career, Silas spent time with the Hawks, Suns, Celtics, Nuggets, and Sonics.

As a head coach, he started with the Clippers(1980-83) before waiting 16 years to become a head coach again, this time with the Charlotte Hornets(1999-2003). After Charlotte, he became the head coach in Cleveland(2003-05) and was LeBron James’ first coach. He would return to Charlotte to coach the team in 2010 and be there until 2012.

In total, Silas spent 12 seasons as an NBA head coach

Currently, Silas’ son, Stephen, is the head coach of the Houston Rockets.

The Rockets released this statement on the passing of Silas: “The Fertitta Family and the Rockets organization are deeply saddened by the passing of Paul Silas, father of Rockets head coach Stephen Silas. Our heartfelt thoughts are with Stephen and his family during this difficult time.”

The Cavs released the following statement on the death of Silas: “Paul Silas served as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2003-05,” the Cavs wrote in a statement on S. “His engaging presence and huge personality inspired legions of NBA players and coaches. We send our deepest condolences to the Silas family and everyone that loved him. Rest in power Coach!”

The Suns released a statement on the death of Silas: “The Phoenix Suns are saddened by the passing of Paul Silas, a beloved basketball figure and former player and assistant coach with the team,” the team said in a statement. “The first Suns center to be named an NBA All-Star and the first All-Defensive selection in franchise history, Paul still holds the Suns’ record for rebounds in a single season. Respected by all those who encountered him throughout the NBA, we are grateful for his contributions to the game across a lifetime in basketball. Our condolences go out to his family and friends during this difficult time.”