The shocking news of former Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge stepping down from his position only to make way for head coach Brad Stevens came as a big surprise in Boston.
After being eliminated by the Brooklyn Nets, the Celtics wasted no time in restructuring the front office. However, reshuffling the organization’s chain of command only became the team’s plan once learning that Ainge was headed for retirement.
SNY Sources: ‘A Prominent Member’ Of Celtics Organization Wanted Brad Stevens ‘Fired’
According to Ainge, he reached his decision to retire months ago. However, according to SNY sources, one of his final decisions as active president of basketball operations was keeping Stevens around, despite the fact that one member within the Celtics organization wanted Brad canned.
“At one point in the regular season as the Celtics were struggling, a prominent member of the Celtics organization wanted to fire Stevens immediately, per SNY sources familiar with the matter,” wrote Ian Begley of SNY. “Ainge was among those in the organization who were against the decision, sources say.”
All Eyes On Brad Stevens Ahead of Celtics’ Crucial Offseason
Stevens’ contract extension, which he received in 2020 that was supposed to keep him on the bench through 2024-25, has to play a big part in all of this as Ainge’s retirement thrust Brad into the front office. But, let’s face it if the Celtics were coming off a successful run rather than a .500 regular-season dud, topped by a first-round gentleman’s sweep, removing Stevens from head coaching duties wouldn’t have even been an option.
Moreover, the team’s attitude and overall display of continuity were always in flux throughout 2020-21. Sure, missing players due to injuries and COVID-19 health and safety protocol played a part in Boston’s shortcomings, this year, for sure.
Still, for the Celtics, it was clear a change — in one form or another — was in order. With that being said, seems like this was going to be Stevens’ final season coaching in Boston, no matter what.
But, if Ainge never decides to retire, would Stevens still be heading to a front-office position? Most likely.
The last thing the Celtics would have wanted was to ink Stevens to an extension only to see him coach another team one year later. Now, Brad is under a ton of pressure.
New York Knicks Potential Suitors for Evan Fournier?
These offseason moves, including which coach will guide the 2021-22 Celtics into the franchise’s newest era, will most likely decide Stevens’ fate with the organization. Whether it’s for the long-run or under a short-term basis, Brad’s in a big spot, and news like this only adds more heat to the fire.
SNY also reports that Celtics’ Evan Fournier, an unrestricted free agent, could potentially be on the New York Knicks’ radar this summer. Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau, who recently credited the Atlanta Hawks after losing their best-of-7 series, this week, for surrounding Hawks All-Star Trae Young with shooters, could have eyes for Fournier.
According to SNY, the Knicks showed interest prior to this season’s trade deadline, when the Celtics acquired Fournier from the Orlando Magic.