Less than 24 hours after the Brooklyn Nets ended the Boston Celtics’ season in Game 5 of their first-round playoff matchup, Danny Ainge stepped down as the president of basketball operations, as now former head coach Brad Stevens will step into that role.
“I loved coaching and I loved coaching the players both at Butler and here, but this is the new challenge and this is what we need to do to hopefully be even better,” Stevens said.
Brad Stevens as the Replacement | Head Coaching Vacancy
With the head coaching spot now vacant in Boston, several big names around the NBA have come up as possibilities to fill in that vacancy. Jason Kidd, Lloyd Pierce, Ime Udoka and Chauncey Billups are among the names that have been brought up.
Kidd is currently an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Lakers, but he has been a head coach of the Nets and Milwaukee Bucks in the eight years since he retired from his playing career.
It will be interesting to see how he can help bring Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown’s game to the next level, as he helped Giannis Antetokounmpo transition from a raw skinny kid to a perennial MVP candidate when he was coaching the Bucks.
Pierce was fired after a poor start to the season with the Atlanta Hawks, but he has drawn praise throughout the league for his player development skills.
Billups and Udoka have both been widely considered candidates who are deserving of a head coaching position.
Regardless of who the Celtics hire, things are quite ugly in Beantown right now. Ainge couldn’t ever capitalize on the assets he acquired in the Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce trade with Brooklyn in 2013, as he once had a roster featuring Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Al Horford and Terry Rozier.
When he had Irving in the fold, he had a chance to trade his treasure trove of assets to acquire a guy like Kawhi Leonard or Paul George to help make them go from a good team to great team. Because of Ainge’s reluctance to go big, Irving left and joined a superteam of his own in Brooklyn.
Ainge has undoubtedly made great moves, but it was his recklessness of making players feel expendable rather than a big part of their future and building a toxic culture that has gotten Boston to where they currently are, which is no better than a .500 team.
Brad Stevens also coming out on the record and saying that he’s never seen or heard of a Black player in Boston experiencing racism also sends a terrible message to the guys in his locker room. Bill Russell has publicly come out and addressed his racist encounters, as has Marcus Smart.
It’s also questionable at best how Brad Stevens got promoted, as the Celtics have greatly underachieved in recent years.
Wrapping Things Up
The Celtics thought they were going to bury the Nets forever, but eight years after that trade, Irving stomped on the Celtics’ logo at midcourt after his masterful performance in Game 4, as that signified that they’re now the team that will be buried for a long period of time.