His boss, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, was also concerned. Ainge, who was a guest alongside Chris Gasper on WCVB-TV’s Take 5 Podcast, talked about what that experience was like for him and Stevens.
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Danny Ainge On Brad Stevens’ New Job Offer: ‘We Had A Conversation, I Asked Brad’
Instead, Danny understands how valuable his head coach is and says if anything, the reported job offer in itself exemplifies that.
“If anything solidifies how good of a coach Brad Stevens is it’s when job opportunities come up — big-time job opportunities, good jobs — that Brad is the first on the list and the highest on the list,” Ainge said, via WCVB-TV’s Take 5 Podcast. “So, anybody who doubts whether he’s a great coach or not — even for the NBA — I think the notion is “oh, he’s a great college coach.” No, it’s about the players you have, Brad’s been a great coach everywhere he’s been.
“He’s done a great job for the Celtics, he did a great job at Butler and he would do a great job anywhere he went.”
Clearly, Ainge wasn’t surprised. However, when pressure mounted, Danny admitted it forced him to have a talk with the Celtics head coach.
“We did have a conversation; I asked Brad where his head is,” Ainge said. “I think that this has been a really hard year and a hard last year in the bubble; away from his family. You know, condensed with two months in the offseason just to go again — I think this has been challenging for everybody in the NBA. We’re grateful for our coaches and our players who allow all of us that are in the NBA world — from the arena workers to the employees of the organizations — to keep getting paid, keep having jobs.
“And the players and coaches have made a lot of sacrifices for everybody else.”
Danny Ainge On Brad Stevens’ Future: ‘We Just Gave Him a Five-Year Extension, He Has Six Years Left’
The hurdles that the Celtics — along with all of the other 29 NBA teams — have faced year-long are easy to overlook while All-Stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are putting together stellar seasons. But, when the outside noise reached a boiling point — which was fans calling for Ainge to fire Stevens — Danny says he was forced to set the record straight.
“I think that Brad is pretty well-appreciated by the media and by the organization but yeah, there’s this noise out there,” Ainge added. “When I do interviews like this, often, I’m asked these questions, you know, like, “Is Brad in danger,” like what? Are you kidding me? We just gave him a five-year extension; he has six years left on the contract.
“We love the guy.”