Celtics Extend Contracts of Ainge, Stevens
BOSTON – The Boston Celtics announced Wednesday that they have extended the contracts of president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and head coach Brad Stevens. The terms, per team policy, have not been disclosed.
Managing partner, governor and CEO Wyc Grousbeck told Celtics.com that based on Stevens’ and Ainge’s success in their respective roles, the decision to extend their contracts was made without hesitation.
“A major job of ownership is to find the right people to run the basketball side,” Grousbeck said. “We believe we have found them in Danny and Brad.”
“Once you find your people,” he continued, “you need to support them in their efforts and create a work environment that enables them and the team to succeed. If all of that is in place, the topic of extending contracts becomes an easy one, because everybody wants to keep moving forward together.”
Ainge’s extension should come at no surprise; he and the current ownership group have had an incredible relationship for nearly a decade and a half. Grousbeck credits the establishment of that bond to managing partner Steve Pagliuca, who introduced Ainge as a candidate for an executive role in 2003.
Ainge has held his post ever since, and continues to build upon his relationship with the Celtics’ front office.
“We know our strengths and weaknesses, and as a team we work well together,” said Ainge. “Wyc, (managing partner) Irv (Grousbeck), Steve, (team president) Rich (Gotham), Brad and I have a common goal, and we have a trust that is hard to achieve in such a public and pressure-packed business.”
Ainge, however, has proven that he thrives in this type of business. Grousbeck says that if it weren’t for him there would be no Banner 17, and there would be no Stevens at the helm.
“Danny architected the 2008 championship team with his excellent drafting and the transformative trades of the summer of 2007,” said Grousbeck. “His recommendation that we hire Brad Stevens is another mark of distinction. He's simply the right person to head basketball for us.”
While Ainge has proven himself as an excellent commander of the team’s basketball operations, Stevens has excelled in his role of manning the sidelines.
Stevens arrived to Boston three summers ago, just 36 years old with no NBA coaching experience. But his prowess at Butler University – having guided the mid-major program to back-to-back NCAA Championship appearances in 2010 and 2011 –caught the eye of Ainge, so the team took a chance on him.
It paid off.
Boston was a lottery team during Stevens’ first campaign, but he has led the C’s to the Playoffs in each of the last two seasons. His winning percentage has increased drastically each year, from 30.5 percent in 2013-14, to 48.8 percent in 2014-15, to 58.5 percent this past season.
“Brad has demonstrated the ability to get the very best out of his players,” said Grousbeck. “A number of guys have had career years playing for him: Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder, for example. And our young players have been developing very nicely.
“He is a natural leader and a very skilled, strategic coach who is the right man to coach the Celtics.”
Stevens explained to Celtics.com that he shares that mutual respect with the ownership, and couldn’t be happier with the opportunity they have presented.
“My family and I were thrilled to have been approached with this contract extension,” said Stevens. “We sincerely appreciate the empowering leadership of our ownership and front office, the opportunity to work alongside such a talented staff, the support of our tremendous fans, and of course, the commitment and hard work of the players wearing this jersey.
“It’s an honor to be a member of the Boston Celtics, and we’ll continue striving for growth in pursuit of Banner 18."
Capturing that banner will be a process, and Ainge, having been involved in the NBA since 1981, understands that as well as anyone. But with him and Stevens leading a determined basketball ops staff for years to come, the Celtics should be an exciting team to follow.
“I've seen a lot,” said Ainge. “I've learned a lot and I'm still learning from our young and bright coaching staff.
“I look forward to this next chapter of Boston Celtics history.”