It was announced Wednesday that Danny Ainge will be retiring from his position as the Celtics’ President of Basketball Operations, Brad Stevens will be taking his place, and the search for a new head coach has begun.
Danny’s 18 seasons in the front office were full of ups and downs, but he was able to accomplish the ultimate goal. When he took over as the Celtics’ General Manager in 2003, the franchise was 17 years removed from their last championship. He needed just five years to end that drought.
If the Pierce/KG/Jason Terry deal to Brooklyn worked out the way we thought it would, we’d all be singing his praises and he probably wouldn’t be retiring. Nobody could have anticipated the Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward situation playing out like it did. We do, however, owe Danny a debt of gratitude for drafting two of the best young players in the league in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. And for reigniting Celtic pride by acquiring Isaiah Thomas in 2015, making Boston a playoff team again after just a one-year absence in 2013-14.
Ainge always had good intentions. He just wanted to win. His biggest fault was relying too heavily on assets and not being aggressive enough in free agency or at the trade deadline. Losing to Brooklyn in the playoffs, a team that he thought he had swindled eight years ago and is now a legitimate championship contender, was a clear indication that Danny’s valiant rebuilding effort was falling short. It’s understandable that he chose this time to call it quits.
As for Brad Stevens, it was becoming more apparent that his coaching style is better suited for college teams or NBA teams with low expectations and no superstars/egos. It was fun watching him get the most out of guys like Jordan Crawford and Isaiah Thomas, but his inability to relate to the elite young talent in the league was detrimental to his success. He’ll be better suited in a front office role.
Stevens’ first task will be finding his successor as head coach. Some early rumors include Jason Kidd or Sam Cassel.