Last Wednesday was a good day for the Boston Celtics. After the last two years of complacency and failure the Celtics are making some changes, some much needed changes.
I’ve been saying since the bubble last year that the Celtics needed a new coach. Brad Stevens was no longer getting through to his players. He couldn’t motivate them, he couldn’t get the most out of them, they weren’t responding. Brad himself seemed lost, lackadaisical, almost waiting for the day he got fired. Eight years is a long time for a coach that never won anything and his time was up.
Danny Ainge can call it a retirement and the Celtics can treat it like one but if you ask me, he was shown the door. Ownership wore thin of Danny. He lost a step over the years, he wasn’t the same Danny Ainge I came to love because of the great job he did from 2007-2013. He suddenly wanted to hoard young players and draft picks, he was hesitant to pull the trigger on some trade opportunities. I think the Kyrie Irving trade blowing up in his face made him timid. Almost everyone throughout the league hates him which always made his job harder but it really came to a head the last few years. Danny was a very good president of basketball operations but fell short trying to rebuild post Pierce/Garnett and now he’s past his prime. It was time for Danny to go and I think everyone in the organization saw it.
Now, let’s get to Brad becoming the president of basketball operations. First off, I’m not sure this is a promotion in the true sense of the word. I think it’s more of a reassignment. The Celtics owe him a lot of money, he’s under contract but they no longer wanted him coaching this team so they moved him to the front office. I’d even venture to guess he didn’t get a raise or a new contract, they just changed his title. Last time I checked, Mike Zarren was still essentially the GM and a lot of people thought he was next in line after Danny. My guess is as long as Zarren sticks around, he will have a lot of say on personnel moves. Brad will likely be part of decision making team rather than being the sole decision maker.
Additionally, I don’t think this is what Brad really wants. I don’t envision this being a long term thing. It wouldn’t surprise me if Stevens keeps flyers out for big time college jobs and eventually takes one of those. He’s a college coach through and through. He’s almost destine to return to the college ranks at some point. I think he was close to taking one of those jobs earlier this year.
Brad will also have a much shorter leash than Ainge ever had. Like I said, I don’t think Wyc and ownership are satisfied with Brad Stevens, they just altered his role instead of firing him, for now. If he doesn’t prove to be a good President over the next two years, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he’s shown the door.
One of the more intriguing aspects of Stevens becoming President is we will find out exactly how he felt about this roster. Now that he has some personnel say does he ship out half the roster? Did he really love Marcus Smart and want to play him all those minutes or was that forced on him by Danny? I think Smart frustrated the hell out of Stevens. Was it enough to ship Smart out of town? Ainge struggled to add a legit big man over the years, will that be Stevens first order of business? Stevens hates young players and Danny loved them, I’d have to imagine Brad is going to try to swing some of the young kids for veterans. He just needs to hire a coach that can handle veteran NBA players, cause god knows he couldn’t.
Who the next head coach will be is big part of this, if it’s another Brad Stevens this will blow up in their face and they will have a complete organizational change in about two years, which at that point will likely include losing Tatum and Brown. If they hire a good coach, that can get through to players and handle veterans, this will be a great and exciting time in Celtics history.