Celtics Rumors: Brad Stevens Wasn't Open to 7-Year, $70M Indiana Contract Offer

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorApril 18, 2021

Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens instructs his players in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Friday, April 9, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Elise Amendola/Associated Press

Indiana University was ready to break the bank for Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on NBA Countdown Saturday.

"[Stevens] publicly ... came out to say that he was not interested in that Indiana University job that opened a few weeks ago," Wojnarowski began. "I was told that Indiana was prepared to offer him seven years, $70 million."

Wojnarowski finished his comments as follows: "But he did not entertain it. Leaving the Boston Celtics for a college job, it doesn't make sense. He's in that high-six-, low-seven-million-dollar-year range anyway."

The Indiana job eventually went to former NBA head coach Mike Woodson, a former Indiana basketball star who most recently served as an assistant for the New York Knicks. Wojnarowski mentioned Woodson's contract was "not nearly at that number" compared to what IU was reportedly ready to offer Stevens.

The Celtics coach led Butler University to two national championship appearances before joining Boston in 2013. The Celtics have made the playoffs six times under Stevens, making Eastern Conference Championship appearances three separate times.

He has repeatedly denied rumors connecting him to his home state's university, notably issuing this statement regarding his loyalty to his new home on March 19:

Tim Bontemps @TimBontemps

Here’s Brad Stevens’ complete answer on why he has no interest in leaving the Celtics, including, “I’m not a kid anymore. I’m a 44-year-old Masshole. I swerve around others when I’m driving, I eat Dunkin Donuts and I root for the Patriots.” https://t.co/t0sKCiJOfW

On March 16, Stevens issued these comments about the reported opportunity on 98.5's Zolak & Bertrand (h/t Tom Westerholm of Boston.com):

"It means a lot. It means a lot. I know that — listen, I've got a lot of friends back there. I've got a lot of people that are really important to me there. My dad's still there. That does mean a lot. I won't act like that doesn't. Like I said earlier today, it's flattering.

"But I also realize that I'm the coach of the Celtics and it's been an amazing opportunity, an amazing challenge every day for the last eight years and I'm extremely grateful for that."

Stevens didn't leave Boston for the job, and Wojnarowski even turned from reporter to analyst regarding the rumors:

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

@TimBontemps It’s incredible Brad Stevens has to even spell this out for people. No one is leaving a head coaching job in the NBA for college anymore. Not the Celtics. Not the Kings. Not anyone, anywhere. Nobody is returning to college unless they’re no longer welcome to stay in pros.

The Indiana talk came amid the Celtics' midseason struggles that saw them hover around .500. They've turned around their season since then, winning five straight to move to 30-26.

Boston will look for win No. 6 on Saturday against the Golden State Warriors.


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