One of the biggest questions for Brad Stevens when he took over for Danny Ainge as the Celtics’ president of basketball ops: How would he compare to his predecessor in how he handles trades?
Stevens has certainly proven to be aggressive in his first season at the helm of the Celtics’ front office. He made five trades in the offseason, and three more just ahead of the 2022 NBA trade deadline. His acquisition of point guard Derrick White from the Spurs headlined the moves on Thursday.
On Zach Lowe’s podcast at ESPN, NBA front office analyst Bobby Marks saw the White move as a sign that Stevens is a big change from how Ainge handled trades: “This doesn’t feel like Danny was still there, an Ainge-type move. It’s just kind of like a little bit of a changing of the guard as far as how they function.”
Ainge also earned a reputation over the years as a GM who would hold out for home-run deals that would be decisive wins for the Celtics. It would explain the team’s relative lack of trades in the final few years of Ainge’s run. But Stevens wouldn’t go along with the notion that Ainge was some kind of problem.
“Well, I’ll say this, Danny was really good, so that’s probably not good [that I’d be the opposite of him],” Stevens joked. “I would say that everybody just has to be their own person. You have to approach it in your own, authentic way. I appreciate working with the people that I’ve worked with thus far.”
Stevens also pushed back on the idea that he corrected Ainge’s past “mistakes,” which Gary Washburn posited in the Boston Globe.
“I don’t believe that,” Stevens said. “I think every team is unique. We’re trying to build a brand-new team, with a new coaching staff, and build some continuity in this. Some of the guys that we have had to move on from are really good players. I mean, Josh Richardson is a really good player. Someo Langford’s a really good player and prospect … you go on and on.
“Sometimes you have a chance to do some things that you think might be good for your team, both in the near and long-term, and sometimes you don’t. But nobody works harder than Danny, nobody was more measured than Danny, nobody was more prepared than Danny, and so … I just can’t look at it that way, because of the amount of respect and admiration I have for Danny.”
Listen above for the full interview with Stevens on Toucher and Rich.
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