In an offseason already full of shocking moves by the Boston Celtics, team president Danny Ainge has arguably pulled off his biggest caper yet.
UPDATE: Wednesday, July 3, at 8:47 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford
Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reports the details of Stevens' contract:
---End of update---
According to a press release appearing on the Celtics' official website, the team has hired Butler University head coach Brad Stevens to the same position. Stevens will officially be announced as the new man in charge on Friday based on this tweet from ESPN's Arash Markazi:
The official terms of Stevens’ agreement have not been released, though a league source told Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald that the contract is for six seasons:
Ainge released a statement via the Celtics' website:
Brad and I share a lot of the same values. Though he is young, I see Brad as a great leader who leads with impeccable character and a strong work ethic. His teams always play hard and execute on both ends of the court. Brad is a coach who has already enjoyed lots of success, and I look forward to working with him towards Banner 18.
Stevens also released a statement on his departure from Butler, via the Deseret News' Jody Genessy
Our family is thrilled for the opportunity given to us by the leadership of the Boston Celtics, but it is emotional to leave a place that we have called home for the past 13 years.
We truly love Butler University and Indianapolis and are very thankful to have had the opportunity to celebrate so many wonderful things together. What makes Butler truly unique is the people that we have been so blessed to work with. When it comes time for our kids to look at schools, we will start with Butler University.
Stevens, 36, has spent the last six seasons at Butler cultivating a reputation as one of the finest young coaches in college basketball. He has a 166-49 record (.772 winning percentage) and has missed the NCAA tournament just once during his six campaigns as head coach. Butler most notably made back-to-back runs to the NCAA championship game in 2010 and 2011, losing both times. He led Butler to a 12-5 record in the NCAA Tournament in five appearances.
As Stevens’ profile grew, he became one of the nation’s hottest names for high-profile collegiate openings. UCLA made a hard push for the former Butler coach in March, only to be rebuffed. At the time, Stevens reconfirmed his commitment to the school that took a chance on hiring a man barely past his 30th birthday.
Born in Indiana, it looked like the Indianapolis-based school had a coach who could become a lifer. But the allure of coaching at the sport’s highest level was too much for Stevens to pass on.
Renowned for his molding of young minds, the new Celtics boss will certainly have his chance to do so next season. The 2013 offseason has been one of mass upheaval in Boston, with franchise faces being jettisoned and a full rebuilding process beginning.
Stevens will take over for Doc Rivers, who left the Celtics after nine seasons for the Los Angeles Clippers last month. Boston received a 2015 unprotected first-round pick from the Clippers in exchange for letting Rivers, who had grown wary of a potential rebuilding project, out of the three years remaining on his contract.
Rivers was only the tip of the iceberg to Boston’s wholesale changes. On draft night, the Celtics consummated a deal that sent forwards Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets in a blockbuster. The Celtics received the expiring contract of Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, Kris Joseph and three first-round picks in the swap.
Jason Terry was also sent to Brooklyn, and Keith Bogans will be added as part of a sign-and-trade, per Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.
Point guard Rajon Rondo remains as the team’s only superstar on the roster. Ainge has touted the enigmatic guard as a building block and has said the team has no plans on moving him at this time, according to ESPN’s Chris Forsberg:
The calls are coming in, the calls have not been going out. I think that the assumption is that, [given] what we are trying to accomplish, the reports are such that maybe the assumption is that we'll give away any of our players. We have had calls. On Jeff [Green], on Courtney [Lee], on Brandon [Bass], on Rondo, on Jared [Sullinger] and our draft pick, Kelly [Olynyk]. There's been calls for all those guys. And maybe the assumption is we are just changing everybody, but we're not. We're starting to get younger.
The Celtics accomplished their youth movement with their coach. At 36 years old, Stevens will become the youngest head coach in the league. He is two years younger than the Orlando Magic’s Jacque Vaughn.
It will also be interesting to see who Stevens brings along for his staff. He has been one of the more forward-thinking coaches in college basketball during his tenure, hiring a statistical guru in Drew Cannon. As the NBA continues its push toward more analytics-based thinking, Stevens might be the perfect fit in Boston. The Celtics are among the most well-respected analytics teams in the NBA.
Either way, Stevens will have a ton of work to do to hang an 18th banner in TD Garden.
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