Celtics

Why Brad Stevens is thrilled with new GM role, per Celtics owner

Celtics

When Brad Stevens vacated his head coach job to take over as Boston Celtics president of basketball operations in June, the move caught many by surprise.

But to hear Wyc Grousbeck tell it, this was the perfect transition for Stevens.

"He’s a duck to water. I think he’s really taken to the new role," the Celtics majority owner told WEEI's "The Greg Hill Show" on Wednesday morning.

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While Stevens had no prior front office experience after spending eight seasons as Boston's head coach, Grousbeck pointed out that Stevens was involved in roster-building at the college level as the head coach (and de facto lead recruiter) at Butler.

"He’s always thought the game and thought about constructing rosters, and obviously that’s what he had to do as a head coach in college," Grousbeck said. "And then he worked closely with Danny (Ainge) over the last eight years putting our rosters together and we got to the conference finals a number of times, had some good rosters.

"So, I think this is real good fit for him to come up into that role and be able to hire a coach who might have different attributes and might have a new perspective."

Stevens said this summer he's always enjoyed "putting the puzzle together" by having a say in roster construction. He also admitted his players may have been ready to hear a new voice in the locker room after a first-round playoff exit.

 

Enter former San Antonio Spurs, Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets assistant Ime Udoka, who already has set the tone in his brief tenure as Celtics head coach.

Meanwhile, Stevens has been plenty busy in his executive role, bringing in a host of new role players to complement Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown while negotiating contract extensions for Marcus Smart and Robert Williams.

It appears Stevens loves his new challenge, though.

"Really right now, Brad is as happy as I’ve ever seen him," Grousbeck said.

We'll find out how Stevens' happiness level will change when the season begins Wednesday night. Tipoff for the Celtics' game against the New York Knicks is set for 7:30 p.m. ET at Madison Square Garden.