Back on July 4, 2013, Brad Stevens agreed to a six year, $22 million contract to become Boston's head coach.
The remaining pieces of Boston's Big 3, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, had just been shipped to Brooklyn, and a "trade" with the Clippers recently sent head coach Doc Rivers to Los Angeles. The Celtics were officially in major rebuild mode, and felt they found their guy in the former Butler Bulldogs head coach, who led the team to back-to-back Final Fours in 2010 and 2011.
Fast forward three years, and Stevens is now considered one of the best coaches in the NBA. He finished 6th in Coach of the Year voting, a fantastic feat in its own right, but most felt he deserved more credit. He has jumpstarted a rebuild process that many expected would take several years, leading a team of role players to two consecutive playoff appearances in just three years as coach.
The Celtics are in position this summer to choose in the top five of the draft and sign two max-level contracts, immediately placing the team in contention for a title next season. With the current pieces performing at such a high level, and new high-level talent to fill in the roster holes, the possibilities with this team in the near future and years beyond are endless.
Recently, President and GM Danny Ainge said Stevens could become "one of the best coaches ever" in his time here in Boston. In an interview with ESPN's Jackie McMullen, star point guard Isaiah Thomas had similar remarks for his coach, saying, "Brad has the potential to be one of the greatest coaches who ever lived."
Needless to say, those around the Celtics organization and fans firmly believe in Stevens, so it's time to lock him in for the long run.
Despite having three years remaining on his six-year deal, should the C's begin talks for a major contract extension with Brad Stevens? To put it simply, there's not a guy in the league that deserves it more than he does.
Before arriving in Boston, Isaiah Thomas was a talented 6th man bounced around from Sacramento to Phoenix, but was unable to showcase his talent as a centerpiece of a franchise. Thomas made his first All-Star appearance this year, averaging 22.2 PPG along the way.
Jae Crowder was averaging just 3.6 PPG for Dallas in 2014-15, underwhelming as a 34th pick out of Marquette. Under Stevens, Crowder averaged 14.2 PPG and 5.1 RPG this season and found himself among the top small forwards in the league.
Avery Bradley was a former top overall recruit in high school above eventual number one pick John Wall. In Stevens' first three years, he helped the 25-year-old guard become a major piece for the C's moving forward. This year, Bradley was second on the team in PPG with 15.2 and finished sixth in Defensive Player of the Year voting.
A former 2nd overall selection in the 2010 Draft, Evan Turner was considered a major bust and written off by many. This year, Turner received multiple 6th Man of the Year votes, provided consistent scoring off the bench for nearly 11 PPG, and is due a hefty contract this summer.
Imagine what Stevens is going to do with a superstar or two?
Nearly every player on the Celtics roster has experienced growth as a player under Stevens, and that success isn't slowing down anytime soon. He has proven he is not only capable to lead the team, but has exceeded expectations each year in Title Town. By locking him into a major contract extension for the future years, the likelihood for #18 and beyond is not just a possibility, but extremely plausible.
At 39 years of age, Stevens has a whole lot of life left in him, and many more years of coaching for the Boston Celtics.
Brad Stevens photo: Boston.com
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