Brad-Stevens-To-Wherever Rumors What Celtics Signed Up For With Coveted Coach

by abournenesn

April 2, 2015

The more the innuendo grows, the more the length of Brad Stevens’ quotes on the matter shrink.

When a reporter on Wednesday presented the Boston Celtics coach with the latest rumor — roughly the 1,000th he’s faced since taking Butler to its first Final Four in 2010 — this one claiming he was drawing interest for Texas’ vacant head coaching position, Stevens was succinct.

“I’ll be in Boston,” Stevens told the assembled media before the Celtics’ 100-87 win over the Indiana Pacers.

And that was that.

Stevens’ response was notable because the polite and accommodating 38-year-old typically does everything in his power to help reporters fill their notebooks. He doesn’t supply the pull-quote gold of his predecessor Doc Rivers, but he typically gives even the dumbest questions something resembling a thoughtful answer (as I know first-hand). Yet after being tied to every available job and even a couple unavailable jobs over the years, the most Stevens can muster on the topic now isn’t much more than a simple, “No.”

If this worries the Celtics or their fans, it shouldn’t. If anyone in Boston is losing sleep that Stevens might bolt for Duke, Indiana or wherever, they had better be ready for lots of sleepless nights. Because this is what the Celtics signed up for when the hired the highly coveted coach in 2013 — the endless string of rumors from other parties hoping to wrest him away from Causeway Street.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, a solid candidate for the fictional annual award for the least-reactionary man on the planet, knows this. There are worse problems than having a coach everybody wants.

“I certainly understand it,” Ainge said Thursday morning on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich.” “It’s a compliment to Brad. He’s a well-known coach, a well-liked and respected coach around college and NBA circles, so I’m sure we’ll continue to hear that kind of stuff every year. But Brad’s with us, and that’s that.”

Even if Stevens does eventually leave, it wouldn’t necessarily prove the worry was worth it. Nobody was breaking down the doors of the FleetCenter to steal away M.L. Carr, but the Los Angeles Clippers were willing to surrender a first-round draft pick for Rivers. Who would you rather have? Whose coaching tenure was more beneficial to the Celtics? Wouldn’t you take the Celtics’ swift improvement under Stevens if it means operating under the constant shadow suggesting he could leave?

The Texas rumor won’t be the last Stevens faces, and it won’t be his last denial. But this was part of the deal Stevens signed, so much so that it could have been a clause in his six-year contract: “Brad will face endless speculation for any and all coaching jobs, available or otherwise, for the life of this contract and beyond.” As long as Stevens shows he can coach, other people will wish he was on their bench.

For now, the Celtics are just fortunate he’s on theirs.

Thumbnail photo via Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports Images

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