Pre-hire Ainge-Stevens conversation

The following telephone conversation was recorded between Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens just prior to the Celtics' 2013 announcement that Stevens had signed a deal to head-coach the Celtics for the following 6 years. (Don't ask how I got a hold of it.)

AINGE: Hey Brad, how areya son?

STEVENS: Papa Dan! Hey, I'm great, how're things up in sunny Boston?

AINGE: Well, tellya what, I got an opening here for head coach I'd like to offer you. Whaddaya think about that?

STEVENS: Wait, you mean.... THE CELTICS??

AINGE: Yeah.

STEVENS: What do you mean "what do I think"? I'm in!

AINGE: Ok, job's yours. We'll work out the money thing later. Just one little caveat.

STEVENS: Sure, what is it?

AINGE: I need you to lose. Like... a lot. Your first year in Boston, you gotta do things that'll have the fans thinking you're a bum, but you still gotta do em, cuz we need to suck at the BOTTOM of this league for now, no two ways about it.

STEVENS: Damn. How can I guarantee losses without making it obvious I'm tanking?

AINGE: Easy, buddy. If anybody plays too well – too efficiently or too hard – I'll trade their butts right outta here. So don't worry about that. We do have a couple guys I wanna hold onto though. Guys like Jeff and Avery – they can score – but I got it taken care of.

STEVENS: What do you mean?

AINGE: I had the doctor give Jeff a shot of the Soporify virus – that'll last till next June. All you gotta do is sing him a lullaby before each game and especially at halftime. That'll have him sleepwalking through most games. Well.... not all, but enough!

And I took care of the AB problem too. Worked it out with his agent. I told Avery we're offering him 6.5, even though I'd NEVER pay that much for a 2-guard, I don't care WHO he is. But I arranged with his agent to refuse the offer and have him shoot for more. (I gave the guy 20 bucks -- just don't tell anybody!) So I figure Avery's gonna try like mad to score a lotta points, which I know he can't do, so he's just gonna look worse and worse. By next summer, I'll sign him for like the minimum -- and by then he'll be thrilled to get that much!

Man, I'm such an evil genius.

STEVENS: Well... yeah....

AINGE: Ha! Then, once the year is over, I'll make sure Avery stops chucking and starts cutting to the rim more, and hitting his 3s, and otherwise mostly focusing on defense -- the only thing he's REALLY good at. No worries, mate -- I got the AB thing covered 6 ways to Sunday.

STEVENS: Ok, so you got Avery and Jeff handled. What about guys like Wallace, Hump, KO and Sully?

AINGE: Wallace is too old to give a damn. All he wants is to shoot his mouth off, and I've made sure he'll get plenty of chances to do that. The more he mouths off, the less the guys will listen to him.

And KO's a rook. Fuhgetabout him. If he starts scoring too many points, I'll just get the PG to throw the ball away a couple extra times. Same goes for Hump and Sully. 'Cept Imma gettin' rid of Hump ASAP. Wallace too, if I can find anyone dumb enough to trade him for at least a sack of potatoes.

STEVENS: What about Crawford and Lee?

AINGE: They'll be gone soon.

STEVENS: Speaking of PGs -- what about Rondo? He's coming back one of these days, ya know.

AINGE: No worries there. Rondo's in the bag. 'Sides -- I got him thinking he's a good shooter. Even got the boys over at CelticsBlog ready to write a whole piece about how he's "ACTUALLY" a good mid-range shooter! Ha ha ha!! They don't actually believe it, of course, but they're still gonna run the story. I tellya, we've got the greatest fans in the world -- ready to take a bullet for the team anytime!

STEVENS: I don't get it. How does that "handle" Rondo?

AINGE: Well... Rajon's gonna THINK he's a "good" perimeter shooter. So he'll be chucking those shots at the worst possible times! When the game's on the line, he'll be out there taking those shots even when he's guarded. Don't you see? The kid can't hit the side of a barn when he's under pressure away from the rim. So every one of those potential game-winners is gonna miss! Ha ha ha ha. We are gonna SUCK like nobody's EVER sucked before!! Gawd, I love myself.

STEVENS: Easy there buddy. You know those guys with the straightjackets are just itchin' for an excuse to suit you up again. Just pretend you're normal, okay?

AINGE: Yeah, yeah. Sorry. Kinda lost control there for a second. HA HA HA HA HA!!!! Ooops... sorry, sorry.... HA!!

STEVENS: Okay, you've got a decent plan there. I'm in. Just tell me one thing....

AINGE: Sure. Shoot. (HA!)

STEVENS: How are we ever gonna get GOOD -- AFTER this miserable tank year??

AINGE: Huh? Whaddaya mean?

STEVENS: Well, ya know.... the whole idea of being bad in '13-'14 is to get good AFTER that. Right??



AINGE: Uhhh. Well..... Hmmmmmmmmm.......

STEVENS: You mean... Wha????? Wait....... What the..

AINGE: OH!! Oh SURE! Sorry dude. SURE, I know what you mean!! Yeah, yeah. Don't you worry, Brad. I got a plan! I got a plan, man!!

STEVENS: Okay. Whew. Glad to hear it.

AINGE: Ha, ha, ha.

STEVENS: So what's your plan?

AINGE: It's a secret for now. But don't worry! I got a plan. I got a plan, man!

STEVENS: Umm... okay, Danny. I'll take your word for it. By the way, have you been taking your medicine?

AINGE: Uhhh.... Medicine? What medicine?

STEVENS: You know........

AINGE: Oh yeah! Oh yeah, SURE! Sure I have. Are you kiddin'? Course I have. And I got a plan. Yeah, I GOT A PLAN!! I GOT A PLAN, MAN!....I got a plan...I got a plan....I got a plan....I got

STEVENS: {HANGS UP, MUMBLES TO SELF:} Man, that guy's nuts. Oh well. Anything's possible.

AINGE: {HANGS UP, MUMBLES TO SELF:} Man, can't believe he fell for that crap. Oh well. Anything's possible.

Ah, life in the NBA...
It is a tale
Told by a fool
Full of sound and fury
Signifying I-wish-I-knew-what

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