When the Boston Celtics hired Brad Stevens as head coach in 2013, they took the unusual step of signing him to a six-year deal, sending a message that they were going to give him time to grow as the organization headed for a rebuild in the post-Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce era. Three years into that deal, the Celtics have already announced an extension for Stevens – and the man who hired him, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge.
The Boston Celtics announced Wednesday that they have extended the contracts of president of basketball operations, Danny Ainge, and head coach, Brad Stevens. The terms, per team policy, have not been disclosed.
Managing partner, governor and CEO Wyc Grousbeck told Celtics.com that based on Stevens’ and Ainge’s success in their respective roles, the decision to extend their contracts was made without hesitation.
“A major job of ownership is to find the right people to run the basketball side,” Grousbeck said. “We believe we have found them in Danny and Brad.”
“Once you find your people,” he continued, “you need to support them in their efforts and create a work environment that enables them and the team to succeed. If all of that is in place, the topic of extending contracts becomes an easy one, because everybody wants to keep moving forward together.”
Stevens has been a success in his first three years as Celtics coach, making the playoffs twice with a roster mostly comprised of role players. Ainge, for his own part, has done a good job of rebuilding after the Doc Rivers era ended, signing good young players like Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley to reasonable contracts, stockpiling draft picks, and swinging deals like the one for Isaiah Thomas at the 2015 trade deadline.
This is going to be a big summer for the Celtics. They have eight picks in the upcoming draft, including three first-rounders, and most notably the No. 3 overall pick (from Brooklyn, a remnant of the Garnett-Pierce trade). They could select a player, or use that pick in a trade for an established star in the event that someone like, say, Jimmy Butler becomes available.
The Celtics are also expected to make a serious run at Kevin Durant when free agency begins on July 1, with max cap space and plenty of assets to trade for another star if they land him. It’s tough to see Durant leaving Oklahoma City, at least not this offseason (signing a one-year deal makes the most financial sense for him), but Boston figures to have one of the more compelling pitches for him or for another star free agent, such as Al Horford.
Locking up Ainge and Stevens long-term only adds to that. In a league where there’s so much turnover (there have been 13 head coaching changes since the start of the 2015-16 season), this kind of stability and long-term unity is rare, and should be appealing to free agents.