The Boston Celtics have been a huge topic of conversation this season with their plethora of injuries, lack of consistency against the competition, and their struggles to live up to their reputation as one of the most successful teams in NBA history.
Celtics make it official: Danny Ainge retires, Brad Stevens is President of Basketball Operations — Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 2, 2021
The historic franchise’s future is even more uncertain now as Head Coach Brad Stevens has officially exchanged his coaching title for that of the President of Basketball Operations with Danny Ainge announcing his retirement. So the big question remains — who will replace Brad Stevens?
A look back on Brad Stevens’ career
Stevens’ took the role of head coach after Doc Rivers left to coach the LA Clippers back in 2013. In Stevens’ eight years in Boston, he places fourth for most wins as a Celtics head coach with 354 wins behind Rivers’ 416, per SportsCenter. Boston made three conference title appearances but has never won a title under Stevens’ leadership.
Although the C’s didn’t have anywhere near the season they wanted to, Stevens’ said he saw improvement and growth with his team, as seen in the Tweet below from @Celtics.
Coach Stevens: "In a lot of ways, it was as hard of a year that any of us have been through. They did nothing but stick together and improve. We didn’t play perfect basketball, but we showed a lot of growth in the last few weeks." — Boston Celtics (@celtics) June 2, 2021
What does the future look like?
Boston was eliminated from the NBA Playoffs Tuesday night by the Brooklyn Nets in a 4-1 series. Even if the C’s had been at full strength, with Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker missing some or all of the playoff games, it seemed near impossible for them to beat Brooklyn’s big three of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and James Harden. Those players became the first trio to ever record 200-plus points over two consecutive playoff games, per CBS Sports.
So the obvious next move for Boston is to start looking for a new head coach. Ainge will be aiding Stevens and the team with the next steps going into the postseason. Some qualities they should be looking for, according to NBA analyst Kendrick Perkins, include finding someone who has played at the highest level and knows how to manage egos. With star players like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the team is going to need someone whom they respect to be their leader.
Boston Celtics coaching contenders
Some names that have come up in conversation to fit this profile include Chauncey Billups. As a former Celtic himself, he has expressed interest in the job and would be a credible choice that the Celtics would benefit from.
“He has been rumored for numerous head coach and front office openings the past few years as Billups is well regarded around the league. His first year as an assistant coach, though, was this season with the Clippers,” per SportsLine.
Sam Cassell’s name has come up also as a three-time world champion– one of those from his time in Boston. He played for Boston on the 2007-08 title team and has been a long-time assistant under former Celtics coach Doc Rivers, including this past season in Philadelphia.
There are a few other candidates to be considered including Jay Larranaga, Jason Kidd, and Becky Hammon who would all certainly be a step in the right direction for Boston.
“There’s so much hope with the Celtics going forward. I think Brad [Stevens] was born for this,” said Ainge on Stevens stepping into his former role, per press conference.
Stevens will be assuming this new position next season and the search for a new leader starts immediately.
“As Danny [Ainge] said we are in a good place, we have a lot of really positive things, and it’s our job to capitalize on that,” said Stevens per press conference.
Who do you think is the best candidate for the job? Share your comments below!