Rumors linking Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens to the Indiana Hoosiers probably could have ended when the university tabbed former Hawks and Knicks head coach Mike Woodson to lead the program. However, another log was thrown on the fire over the weekend when Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that Indiana lobbed a seven-year, $70 million offer in Stevens’ direction, only to see him turn it down to stay in Boston. On Monday, though, Stevens denied that any such offer took place.
“First of all I was never offered a package,” Stevens told reporters on Monday. “That’s all news to me.”
Later, Stevens again said “I was never offered that” and “I don’t know where that came from,” while continuing to insist he’s enjoying coaching the Celtics — early in the Indiana coaching search when rumors swirled, he explained how he’s become a full-on Masshole and wasn’t leaving Boston. On one hand, this is the only move for Stevens, especially as his Boston team is rounding into form after impressive recent play. The quickest way to make the story go away, potentially once and for all, is to attempt to pour even more cold water on it, and a full-on denial like this does the job.
On the other side, it is an oddly specific report from one of the leading reporters in the basketball world, and Wojnarowski doesn’t just throw things around lightly. Beyond that, a $70 million offers at any level, much less for a college program, would create shockwaves for anyone. Needless to say, it won’t surprise anyone if Stevens is the top name on the call sheet at Indiana should Woodson not pan out, especially if it coincides with anything resembling a downturn with the Celtics.