Why Celtics Didn’t Consider Brad Stevens For Coach/GM Hybrid Role

'At the Celtics, those are two separate jobs'


June 2, 2021

It’s not completely foreign for NBA teams to have their head coach run basketball operations, but that’s not the way the Celtics roll.

Boston wasted no time reorganizing its franchise Wednesday morning when it promoted head coach Brad Stevens to president of basketball operations. Stevens will fill the role of Danny Ainge, who is retiring after nearly two decades on the job.

It’s becoming increasingly rare for head coaches to have the sort of role Pat Riley famously had with the Miami Heat. Certainly, a brilliant basketball mind like Stevens is the sort of person who could also thrive as coach/president (or GM), but that wasn’t in the cards.

“At the Celtics, those are two separate jobs,” owner Wyc Grousbeck emphatically stated at a Wednesday morning news conference.

There’s good reason for that, too.

“It’s a gigantic job, doing the two jobs. I can’t imagine doing (both) in today’s world,” co-owner Steve Pagliuca said, revealing the Celtics have studied the idea and its feasibility in the past. “I think it’s two 100-hour-per-week jobs, and that’s why these guys have been so successful (in their previous roles).”

Stevens, meanwhile, didn’t seem very interested in the idea anyway.

“I think it’s too much and I think all of my intentions and energy and focus needs to be on doing this job well and hiring a great coach and trusting they’ll do their job well,” Stevens said. “I think everybody will benefit from that approach. To me, that would have been a lot to be able to do both of these things.”

There’s also this: Stevens, according to one report, was getting burned out as an NBA head coach. In the end, a fresh start is probably best for all involved.

Stevens said his first order of business is to figure out what’s next for his current assistants and then shift his attention toward hiring a new head coach.

Thumbnail photo via Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports Images
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