In the wake of the Boston Celtics elimination from the 2021 NBA Playoffs at the hands of the Brooklyn Nets in 5 games, longtime president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has stepped down from his position according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Ainge, who won two championships with the Celtics in 1984 and 1986, resigns from his post after Boston’s turbulent 2020-21 season in which the team finished as the 7th seed in the east at just 36-36, and were handled with ease in the first round of the playoffs. Rumors suggest Ainge has interest in joining the Utah Jazz front office but the only thing confirmed as of now is his divorce with Boston.
Ainge’s void has reportedly already been filled, as Celtics head coach Brad Stevens will be stepping into Ainge’s former role with the team. Stevens, hired in 2013, was the mastermind behind Boston’s success in the latter half of the 2010’s, making three appearances in the Eastern Conference Finals but not being able to break through LeBron James in 2017 and 2018 or the Miami Heat in 2020. Reports from Wojnarowski suggest Stevens is “worn down” from coaching and has felt that way since the Celtics playoff run in the bubble.
With Stevens succeeding to the front office, Boston’s head coaching position is now open for the first time in nearly a decade. According to Yahoo Sports, former NBA all star Jason Kidd and previous Atlanta HC Lloyd Pierce are being eyed by the team to fill Stevens role. Some other possible candidates could include Celtics legend Kevin Garnett, who has expressed interest in coaching in the past. If they look to the college circuit, Baylor’s Scott Drew, Leonard Hamilton out of Florida State or breakout star Eric Musselman from Arkansas could all fit the bill. Some intriguing names already in the league could be longtime Golden State assistant Ron Adams or Philadelphia associate and 16 year NBA veteran Sam Cassell.
This front office shakeup came out of nowhere from Boston as it is now clear they are not satisfied with their current situation, despite having three former all stars in Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum on the roster. With a very important offseason upcoming for the future of the franchise, it will definently be interesting to see in what direction Boston goes as they could look towards a full scale rebuild, or a retooling process to keep the team competitive and in the playoff picture. With their history of winning and the team culture, it is likely they will be looking for new weapons this offseason to back their star Jay’s for another run at it next year. Whatever they do, Boston is now entering one of the most critical offseasons in the franchise’s recent history.
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