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Brad Stevens won’t step on Ime Udoka’s toes

Chris Grenham and Evan Valenti commented on Stevens and Udoka’s relationship on the latest episode of CLNS Media’s Celtics Beat.

Boston Celtics Introduce Ime Udoka Press Conference Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

This offseason was all about change for the Boston Celtics. Danny Ainge retired, Brad Stevens became the President of Basketball Operations, and Ime Udoka was hired as the new head coach. Now, with the trade deadline less than a month away, most fans expect January to be all about change, too.

But this time, a very different kind of change.

The general consensus around the Celtics is that they’ve been extremely disappointing. Change is needed if they want to make anything of this season. Right now, they are jockeying for a play-in spot when most believed they had the talent to be a bonafide playoff team.

Recent struggles have put a lot of pressure on Udoka and on the latest episode of Celtics Beat on CLNS Media, Evan Valenti brought up the relationship between the first-year head coach and Stevens.

“I know that Brad is going to be this hands-off, try and take the approach of ‘let the coach do the coaching. I’m the President of Basketball Operations. My job is to improve the team anyway I see fit. Ime’s the coach on the floor.’”

Throughout his years in the league, Stevens has always been a quiet guy. It’s only natural that he continues to be that during his time as GM. But with Udoka really starting to feel the heat, Valenti questioned whether or not Stevens should step in.

“But at some point, does Brad need to get involved here?... I beated the drum so loudly in this offseason that I’m obviously not giving up on Ime… But at some point Brad’s got to say, ‘I understand there are first-year head coaching issues. let’s talk about what you’re going through’... Brad’s got to step in at some point to at least give Ime a helping hand.”

Stevens spent eight years as head coach in Boston, so he would undoubtedly have plenty of advice to give Udoka. Whether that be about dealing with the media, getting the most out of his players, or otherwise. So why not have a chat with Udoka to help him navigate this difficult season?

Well, as guest Chris Grenham of Forbes Sports pointed out to Valenti, that’s simply not the kind of guy Stevens is.

“If I know Brad in being around him over the last couple years… I would be pretty surprised if that happened unless Ime Udoka comes to him proactively.”

According to Grenham, it’s unlikely that Stevens gets all up in Udoka’s business. He hired him for a reason, and he wants to allow Udoka the time to figure things out on his own.

“I just don’t see Brad as the kind of GM to go forth and kind of insert himself back toward the coaching realm… I just have a hard time seeing Brad stepping on his toes. I think he’s going to let Ime work through this himself, and I have a feeling Ime’s going to want to work through it himself.”

You can watch the full podcast here.