Brad Stevens has taken this season about as well as could be expected. The Boston Celtics coach hasn’t lashed out publicly at his players or at management and has redirected blame for all 54 losses onto himself.
Yet he breaks a cardinal rule of coaching or any profession: He takes bad days at the office home with him. At the same time, he hasn’t given up on his rookie season with five games to go.
“I’m going to swing and swing hard until 10 o’clock or 10:30 on April 16, our last game, and whoever’s going to swing with me, let’s go,” Stevens said. “Let’s play. Let’s get after it.”
The more the Celtics lose, though, the more there are rumblings that Stevens is merely biding his time in the NBA before eventually returning to the college ranks. A popular theory has Stevens bolting for Duke whenever Mike Krzyzweski retires. Stevens himself has admitted he couldn’t leave Butler directly for another college job, so making a pit stop in Boston could be a way to soften the blow.
As his first season with the Celtics winds down, however, Stevens told Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald that he intends to at least serve out his six-year contract — as long as the Celtics will have him.
“I recognize that we can’t be what we are and do this for a long time,” Stevens told the Herald. “Right? Because eventually people decide to move on from you. I get that. It’s part of the business, and you understand that. But it’s really important to me to see this through and to continue to build, continue to grow, see if we can’t get better with the guys who are here and with whoever is added to this team this summer and beyond.”
The Celtics signed Stevens to an unprecedented six-year, $22 million contract last July, shocking observers at both the pro and college levels. According to Stevens, “the way that the contract’s structured” would make it difficult for him to leave before the six years was up, even if he desired.