Over the past two weeks, there has been some backroom NBA chatter going on around the Celtics, even outside of the NBA Finals. Veteran reporter Marc Stein suggested back on June 6 that the Jazz, now being run by former Celtics president Danny Ainge, could chase current Celtics president Brad Stevens to take over as the replacement for Quin Snyder, who walked away from the job last month.
But is there really a chance Stevens could look to get back into coaching, just a little more than one year after he was put in the front office by the Celtics to replace Ainge? Not likely, said Heavy.com’s NBA insider Steve Bulpett, who covered the Celtics going back to 1986.
“I spoke with Brad some toward the end of the year, and I got a feeling he is committed to this situation,” Bulpett said in a video conversation. “He seems to be OK with this. He has taken the route where he has had a lot less contact with the Boston media, so he has kind of kept his work-life balance in a good place, which is what’s important to him.”
Ainge, Stevens ‘Communicate Regularly’
To be sure, Stevens and Ainge maintain a healthy relationship, even after the parting of ways that led Ainge to the CEO’s chair in Utah, his home state.
“I know that Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens communicate regularly,” Bulpett said. “Danny hired Brad as coach out of Butler in 2013 and it surprised a lot of people. But there is a relationship there. Brad went to Danny, particularly before Danny signed on as CEO of the Jazz, they were discussing things even more then. But Brad is his own guy.”
It would be strange if Stevens, after one year running the team and turning it into an Eastern Conference champion with considerable future promise—star core Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are only 25 and 24, respectively—decided to abandon ship after Year One. Stevens made several bold moves, including trading for Al Horford and adding Derrick White at the trade deadline, that helped boost the Celtics to the top of the East.
Brad Stevens Could Have His Choice of Coaching Jobs
As Bulpett pointed out, Stevens may well find that he wants to coach again. But he does not have to rush into it, and can be patient in finding the right job for him.
“Here’s the thing, too, look at it from Brad Stevens’ point of view, leaving aside everything else—you know that if you decide to get back into the coach game, you know that you are going to have opportunities whenever you want, wherever you want, whether it is professional or, certainly, college, he would have his pick of top jobs,” Bulpett said.
“So, do you want to get involved with the Utah Jazz, a team that has shown well in the regular season but has really stumbled badly in the playoffs and is looking at some major reconstruction, potentially, do you want to be part of that? Or do you want to make it like, if you get back into coaching, kind of like Steve Kerr did, turning down the Knicks and going to Golden State.”