The NBA world continues to buzz over the Boston Celtics‘ front-office shake-up. While he isn’t the first person to make the jump, Brad Stevens’ surprising move from the bench to the team’s general manager post, which was just vacated by the retiring Danny Ainge, is eliciting a whole host of opinions.
During his latest media availability, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick became the latest person of note to comment on Brad’s big move. And, really, the NFL and Beantown legend may be one of the most qualified to do so.
Although he continues to roam the sidelines — and has won several Super Bowls while doing so — Belichick similarly was charged with heading up the Patriots’ football operations more than two decades ago.
So while their respective situations aren’t entirely the same, Belichick clearly knows a thing or two about the coach-to-GM transition.
And he envisions Stevens’ shifting of roles being a successful one.
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On Their Relationship & Stevens’ New Job
On Friday, Belichick was asked by NBC Sports Boston’s Phil Perry to comment on the Celtics shuffle. With his response, the 69-year-old made it clear that he holds Stevens in the highest esteem.
“I have a ton of respect for Brad. He’s a good friend, a great person,” Belichick said, as relayed by Boston.com. “I think he’s certainly added a lot to the Celtics and sports in Boston. Personally, as a friend, he’s helped me as well in our conversations and the time we’ve spent together.
“I’m sure whatever the setup is over there, he’ll enhance it, and the Celtics will continue to be the strong, competitive team they’ve always been.”
As Belichick sees it, the fact that Stevens suddenly finds himself leading a franchise’s front office despite never having been part of one previously shouldn’t be a problem. He believes that there is a level of osmosis that occurs regarding the ins and outs of the GM job when one is close to it for so long.
“When you’re part of a sport like Brad is or like I’ve been…there’s a lot of lines that run together there,” the Pats coach posited.
“You can’t be the head coach and not be aware of contracts and acquisitions and things like that. Again, I don’t know exactly how they’re set up, and each situation’s a little bit different. But Brad has enough experience in basketball and with the Celtics and with the NBA to handle all the things that he’ll need to be handling.”
Not Everyone Is Down With Stevens’ Ascension
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith was somewhat critical of the Celtics’ decision to move Stevens into the front office during one of his recent “Mic Drop” segments. In his eyes, it serves as another example of the double standard that exists where Black coaches are concerned in the NBA.
“If the shoe was on the other foot, it simply wouldn’t go down the same way,” he opined.
“If Brad Stevens was a black coach on the hot seat — 0-for-3 in the conference finals for his career, coming off a .500 season, bounced in the first round of the playoffs — you think he’d get a damn promotion? To the president of basketball operations? Of the Boston Celtics? We all know it wouldn’t go down that way.”
Smith likened the situation to the Brooklyn Nets’ hiring of Steve Nash, who hadn’t even served as a full-time assistant on an NBA staff before he was tapped to be the team’s head coach.
“It’s clearly a double standard.”