The Boston Celtics opted for a major organizational overhaul less than 24 hours after being eliminated from the NBA playoffs by the Brooklyn Nets. The team officially announced on Wednesday that their longtime president of basketball operations Danny Ainge would retire from his role with head coach Brad Stevens stepping in as his replacement.
The Celtics will now embark on a search for a new head coach. Ainge is expected to have an input in the process despite his retirement, but Stevens is expected to have the final decision on the matter.
“I’m grateful to ownership, all of my Celtics colleagues, and the best fans in basketball for being part of the journey,” said Ainge in a statement released by the Celtics.
According to ESPN, Ainge has been thinking about retirement for several months now and discussed candidates for his successor with the ownership. They ended up deciding Stevens is the most fitting candidate given his familiarity with the organization.
Stevens, who served as Boston’s head coach for the past eight seasons, embraced the opportunity as he was reportedly “worn down” by the challenges of coaching.
“I’m grateful to ownership and to Danny for trusting me with this opportunity,” said Stevens. “I’m excited to tackle this new role, starting with a wide-ranging and comprehensive search for our next head coach.”
Danny Ainge, who won two NBA titles with the Celtics as a player, re-joined the team as an executive in 2003. He is responsible for building a Celtics team that won the NBA title in 2008, the franchise’s first in 20 years. On top of that, Boston only missed the playoffs three times under Ainge while reaching four conference finals and two NBA Finals.