NBA

Celtics president Ainge retires, Stevens takes up new role

By Sports Desk June 02, 2021

Danny Ainge has announced he is retiring as president of basketball operations for the Boston Celtics, with head coach Brad Stevens promoted to the role.

Ainge is the only person to win NBA championships as both a player and general manager with the Celtics, who confirmed his departure on Wednesday.

The 62-year-old was at the helm of Boston's last title-winning team, back in 2008, and hired Stevens from Butler University to replace Doc Rivers.

However, after a tough season for the Celtics came to an end with a 4-1 series defeat to the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs, Ainge has decided to leave his post.

Stevens, who has been the coach for the past eight seasons, will move up to take over from Ainge in the front office, meaning he will oversee hiring his own replacement to lead the team on the bench.

"Helping guide this organisation has been the thrill of a lifetime, and having worked side-by-side with him since he's been here, I know we couldn't be in better hands than with Brad guiding the team going forward," said Ainge in a statement released by the Celtics.

"I'm grateful to ownership, all of my Celtics colleagues, and the best fans in basketball for being part of the journey."

During Ainge's 18-year stint managing the Celtics, Boston made 15 playoff appearances and reached the Eastern Conference Finals seven times.

Their championship triumph in 2008 was one of two trips to the NBA Finals, while it was their first title since 1986. Since that successful season, Boston have won more playoff games than any other NBA franchise.

Danny Ainge announced today that he is retiring from his role as President of Basketball Operations. Brad Stevens has been promoted to the team’s President of Basketball Operations.https://t.co/XfGfMVkMkq

— Boston Celtics (@celtics) June 2, 2021

Related items

  • Suns coach Monty Williams grateful to share 'career highlight' with Chris Paul Suns coach Monty Williams grateful to share 'career highlight' with Chris Paul

    Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams is grateful to have shared a career highlight with Chris Paul after securing a place in the Western Conference Finals.

    Second-seeded Suns beat the Denver Nuggets 125-118 on Sunday to seal a 4-0 series win in the Western Conference semi-finals, with newly crowned MVP Nikola Jokic ejected for a flagrant 2 foul in the third quarter.

    Vital for the Suns were the contributions of Paul and Devin Booker, who accounted for 71 of their total points – the former top-scoring with 37.

    Williams wrapped Paul in a warm hug at the end, the two sharing a bond from their days working together at the New Orleans Pelicans.

    Paul was also there for Williams when the coach lost his wife in 2016, and for the latter, the current successes mean that much more when shared with someone so important.

    "The emotions are happy, grateful, tired, relieved," Williams said. "It's one of those moments for me that quite frankly I never thought I'd have a chance to experience. For me, I have a level of gratitude I can't even explain."

    He added: "Chris has meant so much to my career, he's meant so much to my life. The darkest moment of my life Chris was right there and one of the highlights of my career, he's right there.

    "That's where it is right now. I'm not really good at waxing eloquent about how I feel other than just telling you I just feel grateful for this opportunity and to be on this team and in this moment and have a chance to move forward."

    The feeling was mutual for Paul, who was similarly delighted to be on such a road with Williams given their close bond.

    "Monty has been through things in his life that a lot of people don't necessarily come back from," Paul said.

    "Basketball aside, he means so much to me and my family. So, to be on this journey with him and to see it paying off is nice.

    "We're a lot alike. We stay locked in. I don't feel good until the buzzer sounds. Monty's the same way. When the series is over, and the game is over, it's nice to share those moments."

  • NBA playoffs 2021: Jokic's ejection leaves MVP and both teams 'shocked' as Nuggets suffer sweep NBA playoffs 2021: Jokic's ejection leaves MVP and both teams 'shocked' as Nuggets suffer sweep

    NBA MVP Nikola Jokic did not expect to be ejected as the Denver Nuggets were swept from the playoffs in a controversial decision that surprised head coach Michael Malone and Phoenix Suns counterpart Monty Williams.

    Jokic was tossed in the third quarter of Denver's 125-118 defeat to the second-seeded Suns, who sealed a 4-0 series victory in the Western Conference semi-finals on Sunday.

    Crowned MVP on Tuesday, Jokic was assessed a flagrant two foul following a lengthy review after taking a swing at Suns guard Cameron Payne in Game 4.

    Jokic became the first MVP swept in a postseason series since Magic Johnson in 1989 and the Serbian star discussed the incident post-game.

    "I wanted to change the rhythm of the game, I wanted to give us some energy, maybe change the whistle a little bit, so I wanted to make a hard foul," Jokic said.

    "Did I hit him [Payne], did I not hit him? We don't know. So I say sorry if I did because I did not want to injure him or hit him in the head on purpose. I thought honestly they would not eject me."

    "I shouldn't do that. Of course it was my bad. I'm sorry," Jokic said. "But I cannot change it now. It happens."

    Already facing an uphill task to avoid elimination, Jokic's absence made life even tougher for the third-seeded Nuggets as Suns duo Chris Paul and Devin Booker dominated.

    "I just didn't feel like it warranted a flagrant two ejection because he's making a play on the ball," said Malone.

    "There's marginal contact to Cameron Payne's nose I believe. So I was shocked, I'm still a little bit shocked that they called a flagrant two and ejected the MVP on such a play."

    "From my vantage point and watching the replay, I did not think it was a non-basketball play with malicious intent," Malone said.

    "I think it was a frustration foul, Nikola probably felt the last couple plays when he had the ball he had not received a foul call. And he went over there to take a foul. Which he has done plenty of times. A lot of players do that."

    "I didn't really think it was anything malicious," said Williams. "In those moments you have to regulate your emotions. That's what we've been talking about all season long.''

    Jokic and Suns All-Star Booker were involved in a confrontation following the incident as a scuffle briefly broke out.

    But Booker – whose Suns reached the Conference Finals for the first time since 2009-10 – said: "That's all I said, just 'What are you doing?' It's just an emotional play. I don't think he meant harm by it. Just a frustration foul. It's tough, just defending my team-mate, that was it.

    "I've played against the Joker multiple times. I know he's not a malicious player."

  • NBA playoffs 2021: Suns sweep Nuggets after Jokic ejection, Giannis' Bucks level Nets series NBA playoffs 2021: Suns sweep Nuggets after Jokic ejection, Giannis' Bucks level Nets series

    The Phoenix Suns advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2009-10 after sweeping Nikola Jokic's Denver Nuggets 4-0 in the NBA playoffs.

    Suns duo Devin Booker and Chris Paul flexed their muscles in a 125-118 victory over the Nuggets in Game 4 as MVP Jokic was ejected on Sunday.

    Jokic (22 points and 11 rebounds), who earned his first MVP accolade on Tuesday, was assessed a flagrant two foul after his foul on Phoenix's Cameron Payne in the third quarter.

    That made life difficult for the third-seeded Nuggets – already missing star Jamal Murray due to injury – as the Suns rolled into the Conference Finals for the first time in more than a decade.

    Paul produced a vintage performance with a game-high 37 points, while Booker put up 34 points and 11 rebounds for the second-seeded Suns, who are the only team to knock out both the previous season's conference finalists in the opening two rounds since the NBA playoffs expanded to 16 teams in 1984 per Stats Perform.

    The Eastern Conference semi-final matchup between the Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets is deadlocked at 2-2 after Giannis Antetokounmpo starred.

    Antetokounmpo posted a double-double to lead the Bucks past the second-seeded Nets 107-96 in Game 4.

    Two-time MVP Antetokounmpo had a game-high 34 points and 12 rebounds as the Bucks topped the Nets, who lost All-Star Kyrie Irving to injury.

    Irving – who had 11 points, five rebounds and two assists in 17 minutes of action – twisted his right ankle after coming down on Antetokounmpo's foot, having scored from close range in the second quarter.

    The seven-time All-Star received treatment on the court before walking to the locker room. The Nets later ruled him out for the remainder of the contest as the third-ranked Bucks took advantage.

    Kevin Durant led the way for the Nets with 28 points but was stifled by the Bucks' physical defensive play.

     

    76ers at Hawks

    The top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers visit the Atlanta Hawks for Game 4 on Monday, leading the Eastern Conference semi-final series 2-1. Utah Jazz – the top seed in the west – are also in action against the Los Angeles Clippers in their Western Conference second-round Game 4.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.