Brad Stevens Contract Extension: Championship or Bust?

Boston Celtics

Getty Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens

Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics are in it for the long-run. Both sides have agreed to a contract extension, the team announced.

The deal will reportedly run through the 2021-22 season, and the terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Stevens (318-245), in the midst of his seventh year in Boston, reached 300 career wins back in January before eventually surpassing K.C. Jones (308) for most wins in franchise history.

Behind Red Auerbach (795), Tommy Heinsohn (427), and Doc Rivers (416), Stevens is currently fourth.

“Brad is one of the most intelligent and hard-working coaches in the game today,” said Celtics president of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge. “More importantly, his character and integrity have contributed to a culture that we all highly value here. Brad is a great teammate, and a leader people want to follow. We are honored to have him with us as we continue to pursue our next championship.”

2013-2018: Brad Stevens’ Rise

Stevens led the Celtics to two Eastern Conference Finals appearances in 2017 and 2018, is on the verge of making his sixth consecutive playoff run and widely revered as one of the most respected coaches in the NBA. The Celtics head coach spoke to the media Thursday morning before the Celtics took on the Wizards.

“We’ve been, like, incredibly blessed when you consider 13 years at Butler and now finished the seventh year with the Celtics and moving on,” Stevens said. “I think in coaching you just expect it to end at some point by being let go or by being fired. It’s just kind of the nature of the business, so I’ve never really focused on that. I’m just trying to focus on doing the job as well as I can.”

When Stevens took the reins in 2013 to assist Danny Ainge’s full-blown rebuild following the blockbuster trade with the Nets involving Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, it didn’t take long for Stevens to make his playoff debut. The Celtics finished the 2014-15 season a plus-15 in the win column and continued to improve his season-win total for the following three consecutive years.

Brad Stevens’ Future

Stevens has exemplified steady growth. Still, his greatest challenge over the past two years has been getting over the hump from conference contenders to conference finalists.

After seven years, the pressure is now on Stevens to make his next proverbial stride. Ainge has cashed in all of his significant assets; Jayson Tatum has ascended into stardom, Jaylen Brown isn’t too far behind and the Celtics’ All-Star veteran point guard in Kemba Walker is contractually locked in.

Taking that into consideration, along with the buzz surrounding the Celtics’ G League affiliate in Maine, it’s fair to say the pieces for Stevens are sufficed for a conference-winning run in the foreseeable future.

“All we’re trying to do year after year is live up to the standards that were set long before us,” Stevens said. “I think that can be a challenge in a lot of ways. Not only the standards that are set within our organization but across town with the other teams in the city and at the end of the day, all we can do is try to get better every day and try to put our foot forward and really that, like, you can be on a process of growth – that’s linear. But you may not get the results that you want every day and I think that’s one of the things we’ve tried to be.”

Stevens commended the Celtics organization for its continuous support while reiterating that the organization and team’s commitment to growth will ultimately push them towards their primary goal of winning a championship.

“I think the support and commitment from ownership and Danny and the front office has been great, the whole time through,” Stevens said. “I’ve felt it every day. I said this a few years ago, last time I signed an extension, Wyc actually came in the day after we got beat by 30 and said, ‘We’d like you to sign an extension.’ I think that speaks to the ability of everyone in those positions to not ride the rollercoaster of emotions that sometimes we all get caught up in in this sporting world. Can we do our best, can we give everything we have and be the very best we can be? Can we be committed to growth?

“That’s all we’re trying to do. Our goals are such that we’d love to compete for championships and do so regularly, and we think the best path to do that is to be very committed to growth.”

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