Celtics Rumors: Why Players Had Problem With Brad Stevens As Coach

It comes down to Stevens not appearing to hold key players accountable


June 20, 2021

Brad Stevens won’t be on the sidelines for the Boston Celtics next season after taking over for Danny Ainge as the organization’s new president of basketball operations.

It’s fair to say that personnel move is perfectly fine with a number of Celtics players, who reportedly were “welcoming a coaching change” following a rather disastrous 2020-21 campaign. Boston, of course, finished the regular season .500 before a first-round exit from the NBA playoffs.

The Athletic’s Jared Weiss on Saturday published a lengthy piece detailing apparent dysfunction within the organization, and included a noteworthy portion explaining why players were unhappy with Stevens at the helm.

Check out this excerpt:

At season?s end, multiple sources close to the players said several members of the locker room were welcoming a coaching change, noting Stevens did not appear to hold key players accountable, with complaints he was favoring Smart over others. The common refrain was that the team should hire a person of color with NBA playing experience to coach, something Stevens seems to be addressing with Chauncey Billups, Ime Udoka and Darvin Ham getting second interviews, as first reported by ESPN.

While it’s certainly more than fair to place some of the blame on Stevens, it would be unfair to say he was the biggest problem.

Speaking immediately after their season-ending loss to the Brooklyn Nets in Game 5 of the first-round, players indicated how an extensive number of injuries was the biggest problem. And while that’s fair to an extent, the season-long inconsistencies should fall on the players. And that was arguably the biggest factor.

The dysfunction clearly was a component itself. It got to a point where players reportedly told Blake Griffin not to sign in Boston midway through the season, and it was capped by the lack of response to Kyrie Irving’s logo stomp late in the season.

Now we’ll have to see who takes over for Stevens, and how the 45-year-old, who spent the last eight seasons coaching the C’s, does in his front office role.

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