In November of 2014, I attended a discussion with Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. In the “Q&A” portion of the conversation, mixed in with the “Will the Celtics trade Rondo?” questions, I heard something that I’m reminded of today as the Celtics ownership group announces contract extensions for both general manager Danny Ainge and head coach Brad Stevens.
That afternoon, Grousbeck told the BU students in attendance the story of how Stevens was hired as head coach of the Boston Celtics in July of 2012. It took less than a week for Ainge to figure out Stevens was his guy and Grousbeck, the rest of the ownership group, and Ainge immediately flew to Indiana to hammer out the contract details with Stevens. There was no extensive search or second-guessing when it came to finding Doc Rivers’ replacement. Ainge knew who he wanted and there was no turning back.
Now Celtics fans see a recommitment to the Celtics’ management structure. Ainge has built up a treasure chest of assets (thank you, Brooklyn) as Stevens takes the next step in his career as an NBA head coach.
After watching the Western Conference Finals between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Golden State Warriors and seeing what the Cleveland Cavaliers did to the Eastern Conference, its fairly obvious that the Celtics, as they are currently constructed, cannot compete with the NBA’s best in a seven-game series. Instead, the Celtics have their eyes set on winning championships in the early 2020’s. The contract extensions for Ainge and Stevens just before the 2016 NBA Draft and free agency period get underway are a commitment to that plan.