Green Teamers who were hoping the Boston Celtics would make notable changes this offseason probably didn’t appreciate the message president of basketball operation Brad Stevens sent out during his end-of-season press conference at the Auerbach Center on Thursday.

Because while Stevens expressed a hint of disappointment in how Boston’s season ended in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat, he also essentially confirmed much would be the same for the 2023-24 campaign.

“The goal was not attained, so I look at it as how can we be a little bit better. And yet, a lot of the times when we were playing, you could see that there’s a lot there, right? It’s not far,” Stevens told reporters, per CLNS Media. “And I think, again, we all ride the rollercoaster, and I certainly do, of the playoffs. But you also, from my perspective, have to sit up here and say, it’s really hard to be in the mix. And so we just got to figure out how to get a little bit better. But stay in the mix. We have a lot of foundational pieces that are good.”

He added: “I don’t want to overreact. We have an incredibly resilient group. They’re tough. With their backs against the wall, they’re amazing. And at the same time, we came up short.”

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Stevens confirmed head coach Joe Mazzulla would return for a second campaign, despite some calling for his job during the postseason. Mazzulla was consistently criticized during the regular season, as well, but his inexperience was on display in the playoffs when the lights were brightest. Stevens said the Celtics can now judge Mazzulla’s one season in dog years, given what he’s been through. It’s why Stevens believes Mazzulla remains the right man for the job.

Whether it’s the right or wrong approach, well, that’s up for debate.

Some might think it makes no sense to split up an All-NBA duo like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Others like Kendrick Perkins, however, might disagree. On another hand, many will think Marcus Smart and the Celtics could benefit from going their separate ways. Others will disagree with that, too.

Stevens, however, seemed to get his point across more times than one.

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“I kind of do a postmortem of the season there all these things that we’ve talked about and then I go back to, if we’re over .500 at home we would have had rest and we’d have been in the Finals,” Stevens said. “And I know that sounds too simple. We need to be better on offense, we need to be better on defense. We need to be better helping all through the seats we’re in here, within this building. And we need to play better. We need to play better when we work all year for home-court advantage. And so there’s all kinds of things and that’s why the margin is so slim when you’re talking about doing a freaking end of the season press conference or playing Finals Game 1 (Thursday). You know that’s one of the toughest things to swallow, just how slim that is.”

In addressing that margin, Stevens indicated why he believes the Celtics are in a position to run it back with the core pieces remaining the same.

Here are some more takeaways from Stevens’ presser:

— Stevens expressed how he could not go into detail about the looming Jaylen Brown supermax extension, which the star will become eligible for this offseason Nevertheless, he made it rather clear where the Celtics stand on Brown.

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“Well, I’ve had nothing but great conversations with Jaylen,” Stevens said. “… I can say without a doubt we want Jaylen to be here. He’s a big part of us. We believe in him. I’m thankful for him. And I said this earlier, I’m really thankful for when though guys have success, they come back to work. And when they get beat, they own it, and they come back to work. I know that’s what they’re about. And that’s hard to find. Those qualities, they aren’t for everybody. Jaylen had a great year, an All-NBA year. And he’s a big part of us moving forward in our eyes.”

— Stevens stood up for Mazzulla in a handful of instances, expressing how the first-year head coach stepped into a situation just days before the season and made the incredibly difficult look relatively easy.

“Well, I might have said this in September: I couldn’t have done that,” Stevens said, referencing how Mazzulla was given just a few days notice before leading a championship contender. “I always needed like a whole summer of planning, a whole summer of thinking, and organized thoughts and being to get yourself ready to emphasize what you want to emphasize on a daily basis. There’s no question that will be a huge benefit (to Mazzulla). To do what they did in five days, and to get ready for the season and to start the season the way we did, I think was a little bit more remarkable than people outside the building would have thought. I certainly was leaning on the leadership of them at that time because that was not an easy thing.”

— Regarding the Mazzulla-led coaching staff, Boston will seek reinforcements. The Celtics essentially watched three coaches — Ime Udoka, Will Hardy, Damon Stoudamire — leave over the last year and did not replace them.

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“We’re going to look for at least one addition to the bench, and he’ll (Mazzulla) lead this charge,” Stevens said. “We’ll look for somebody that has a lot of NBA experience for sure.”

— Stevens also spoke about Grant Williams, who is a restricted free agent this offseason, and Payton Pritchard, who’s under a club option next season before he will become a restricted free agent. Stevens noted how both were casualties of a deep Boston bench, but wouldn’t discuss their respective futures.

— Stevens cited how Tatum suffered a “pretty decent ankle sprain” in Boston’s season-ending loss and added how Malcolm Brogdon will confer with the team’s staff and his agent before making a decision on how he wants to proceed with his elbow injury.

Featured image via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images