An underlying fear that the Celtics may lose Brad Stevens back to the college game has existed since the day the team was able to get him to replace Doc Rivers with Stevens out of Butler University. But news this morning may alleviate the worries for good.
Wednesday afternoon the Celtics announced they have extended Stevens's contract, under undisclosed terms, as well as the contract of President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge. Stevens was three years into a six-year, $22 million contract that he signed in July of 2013. Ainge has been the de facto GM since 2003, and the terms of his deal are not known at this time.
Update on June 2:
Hearing Brad Stevens' extension is for three years, bringing him back up to six total.— Steve Bulpett (@SteveBHoop) June 2, 2016
Through the Celtics' official website, CEO Wyc Grousbeck hailed the signing as a no-brainer:
"A major job of ownership is to find the right people to run the basketball side...we believe we have found them in Danny and Brad."
Stevens, Ainge, and Grousbeck have a press conference planned for 3:30 p.m. through Celtics.com to discuss the announcement that could reveal further details of the contracts.
Ainge and Stevens have now combined for a 113-133 record through three years. In the duo's first year together in 2013-14, the team finished with a 25-57 record and a lottery pick before accomplishing two playoff appearances between 2014 and 2016. It all culminated in the team grabbing the eastern conference's fifth seed this past season at 48-34 before winning two playoff games in Boston over the Atlanta Hawks, eventually losing the series in six games.
The progress they have experienced together has involved seeing Isaiah Thomas, acquired from the Phoenix Suns in 2015, become an NBA All-Star in 2016 and watching Jae Crowder advance from a bench player in Dallas to an established starter in a Boston uniform. Along with the on-court progression, Ainge has acquired a stockpile of draft picks between sending off Rajon Rondo to the Mavericks, Jeff Green to the Grizzlies, Doc Rivers to the Clippers, along with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn for three first-round picks.
Thanks to their combined work the team is in the rare position of being borderline East contenders and picking third in this June's NBA Draft, which is just 22 days away now.
This offseason is filled with uncertainty in a variety of areas: how the team will maintain its sensational chemistry with the possibility of free agent departures, how it will upgrade its talent to an elite level whether through trades or free agency, and who they may select in the draft if they use their picks. This deal with Stevens and Ainge finally seals up one of the many questions surrounding the team: whether this hierarchy will remain for the long haul. Ownership answered a resounding yes. For Ainge, there was never a doubt:
"We know our strengths and weaknesses, and as a team we work well together...Wyc, (managing partner) Irv (Grousbeck), Steve, (team president) Rich (Gotham), Brad and I have a common goal, and we have a trust that is hard to achieve in such a public and pressure-packed business."
More than anything else though, the deal is a reassurance to Celtics fans everywhere that the 39-year-old Stevens does in fact bleed green now:
"My family and I were thrilled to have been approached with this contract extension...we sincerely appreciate the empowering leadership of our ownership and front office, the opportunity to work alongside such a talented staff, the support of our tremendous fans, and of course, the commitment and hard work of the players wearing this jersey...it's an honor to be a member of the Boston Celtics, and we'll continue striving for growth in pursuit of Banner 18."