Coaching under Stevens is 'super duper internship' for Turner


Sure, Evan Turner might be an accomplished NBA veteran who earned over $90 million during a 10-year playing career.

But as he embarks on the next chapter of his life, there are also similarities between Turner and a high school or college student getting professional exposure thanks to an internship.

For the 32-year-old Turner, his "super duper internship" is joining the Celtics as an assistant coach after retiring as a player earlier this offseason.

"Obviously, I was weighing the pros and cons of playing. Had a couple of options, nothing solid in a sense, and also always wanted the opportunity to coach and try to figure out if I wanted to do front office or something like that," Turner said Monday. "When the Celtics came with the opportunity, I thought that was the best possibility for me."

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The move reunites Turner -- who played for the Celtics from 2014-16 -- with Brad Stevens, and Turner said the chance to team up with his former head coach, albeit in a much different role, was a huge factor.

"It’s a super duper internship in a city I like a lot, I love, and to learn under Brad was just a no-brainer, obviously. I jumped on it and took it," added Turner. "Everybody knows I’ve been super fond of Brad and my guy Brady [Stevens’ son]. One thing, I trust the hell out of Brad. When it came to trusting and leaving things up in the air with basketball – I left and my last situation wasn’t ideal – trusting Brad to guide me and learn from him, it was an easy situation and transition. I thought it was the best situation for me. That’s what I was looking forward to. He’s given me space to learn and the comfort level to learn as well. And make mistakes.”


One of the players Turner is now coaching is his former teammate Marcus Smart, who played alongside Turner during his first two seasons with the Celtics. And Smart echoed Jaylen Brown's comments as to why Turner's playing experience makes him such an asset behind the bench.

"It’s been great having Evan here," Smart said. "For him to be able to come back here and really give that knowledge that he has learned over his career, and continue to (teach) us and these younger guys that we have here is a blessing. You don’t get to see that very often.

"It’s unbelievable, we have a coach who understands the players even more because he was a player himself not too long ago. To have that voice in the locker room where tensions are going to be high and competitive natures are going to be high, to just have that guy on the coaching staff that when everything is really hard or really just locked in, the time of need where you just need that relief to kind of decompress, to have a guy like that who understands it and knows the right time to bring it is something that’s going to be important."

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And even though this is Turner's first NBA coaching experience, he already has a championship pedigree after serving as an assistant for Carmen's Crew, which won The Basketball Tournament in 2019.

“Bro, Brad knows. He knows I’ve got a little bit of luck left in the tank. So he’s trying to take it and get him two or three ‘ships, you know what I’m saying?" Turner joked. "So he knows I have a great basketball mind. He knows I have a great basketball energy. His first playoff appearance was when No. 11 was on the court. Now No. 11’s on the bench — not Payton Pritchard, me — behind the bench, like, far behind the bench. Now I think we can make it or take it deep into July every year.”

Turner and the Celtics would definitely take those results after the C's weren't able to win a playoff series during Turner's two seasons in uniform in Boston.