Celtics News: Brad Stevens 'Not the Real Issue' with BOS, Says Danny Ainge

Adam WellsMay 13, 2021

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 27:  Head coach Brad Stevens of the Boston Celtics looks on during a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at TD Garden on April 27, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

Amid a disappointing season, Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge isn't holding Brad Stevens responsible for the team's struggles. 

Appearing on the Toucher and Rich radio show Thursday (h/t Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports), Ainge said Stevens "is not the real issue" with the Celtics. 

"Our job is to deal with the real issues, not perceived issues," Ainge added. 

Expectations were high for the Celtics coming into the 2020-21 campaign after they reaching the Eastern Conference Finals last season. 

Things looked to be on track after a promising 8-3 start, but the ship has been rocky ever since with a 27-32 record over the past 59 games. 

Some of those struggles can be attributed to bad luck with injuries and COVID-19 protocols. Celtics players have missed a combined 181 games because of injuries and safety protocols, including a total of 38 for Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. 

Brown's season came to an end on May 2 due to a torn ligament in his wrist that will require surgery. 

Even before the injuries started to pile up, depth was a question for the Celtics. The top four players at full strength—Brown, Tatum, Walker and Marcus Smart—are good enough to compete with anyone, but the talent falls off quickly behind them. 

Ainge did attempt to boost their depth at the trade deadline by acquiring Evan Fournier from the Orlando Magic and Mo Wagner from the Chicago Bulls. However, Fournier missed nine straight games from April 6-22 due to health and safety protocols

The Celtics are currently the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference and have clinched a spot in the play-in tournament. 

Now in his eighth season with Boston, Stevens has led the franchise to six consecutive playoff berths, not including the play-in appearance this year. His 353 wins are the fourth-most among all head coaches in Celtics history.