Brad Stevens carries a reputation as one of the NBA's best coaches, but the Boston Celtics' 2018-19 season didn't help his cause.
That underwhelming campaign also raised questions about what role Stevens played in Boston falling short of expectations and likely losing Kyrie Irving and Al Horford to free agency this offseason.
NBA reporter Sean Deveney (formerly of Sporting News) added some interesting reporting to that narrative Wednesday, citing a "veteran player" and an agent who both have "griped" about Stevens' communication during their tenures in Boston.
A veteran player told me a couple of years ago that his role in Boston was tough because he was never really told what was expected of him and that Stevens didn’t necessarily connect with players. That appeared to be the case this season, too, when the Celtics had a chemistry meltdown and Stevens could not rein in his locker room.
One agent told me, "Most players don’t need their hands held, but they want to know where they stand and what they need to do. That’s not always coming from Stevens and it can be frustrating."
Stevens hasn't had an enviable job over the last two seasons trying to divvy up playing time on a crowded roster and manage egos like Kyrie Irving and Terry Rozier. Irving reportedly had a few disagreements with the 42-year-old head coach last season, and Deveney suggests that could have played a role in Irving (likely) opting to play elsewhere next season.
But even if Irving and Al Horford leave, it's not all doom and gloom in Boston: That agent told Deveney any communication issues involving Stevens "would not keep any of my players from signing there."
The Celtics certainly hope so, as they reportedly have their sights set on Kemba Walker and other NBA stars in free agency after missing out on the Anthony Davis sweepstakes.
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