Boston Celtics

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.

L-R: Utah Jazz alternate governor and CEO Danny Ainge; Celtics President of Basketball Ops Brad Stevens. (Credits: Tim Bradbury/Andy Lyons, Getty Images)

L-R: Utah Jazz alternate governor and CEO Danny Ainge; Celtics President of Basketball Ops Brad Stevens. (Credits: Tim Bradbury/Andy Lyons, Getty Images)

“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.

More from 985TheSportsHub.com…

Recapping the Celtics' trio of moves at the 2022 NBA trade deadline

  • Danny Ainge had overseen almost two decades worth of trade deadlines as the Celtics’ president of basketball operations. Fans may have been unsure of what to expect as Brad Stevens manned the phones for the first time since being promoted to Ainge’s old job back in June.

    What ensued was one of the wildest trade deadlines in recent memory in Boston sports. In total, the Celtics traded away seven players and a first-round pick, acquired two players and a second-round pick, and added a future first-round pick swap. Here’s a quick rundown of each of the Celtics’ three deals done throughout the day…

    Trade 1

    Jan 27, 2021; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens in the first quarter of the game against the San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

    Jan 27, 2021; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens in the first quarter of the game against the San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

    Celtics get:

    — Future 2nd-round pick

    Magic get:

    — F P.J. Dozier
    — C Bol Bol
    — Future 2nd-round pick
    — Cash considerations

    (Full trade details)

    The Celtics’ first move of the day wasn’t a major one, but it did help the team get under the luxury tax. Boston acquired P.J. Dozier and Bol Bol just a few weeks ago in a three team deal that saw them send forward Juancho Hernangomez and cash considerations to San Antonio.

  • Trade 2

    LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 23: Derrick White #4 of the San Antonio Spurs attempts a shot in front of Talen Horton-Tucker #5 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half at Staples Center on December 23, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

    Celtics get:

    — G Derrick White

    Spurs get:

    — G/F Josh Richardson
    — G Romeo Langford
    — 2022 1st-round pick (1-4 protected)

    (Full trade details)

    A few hours later, the Celtics made their first player acquisition of the day, adding starting Spurs shooting guard Derrick White. White is expected to fill a similar role in Boston. His defensive prowess will give the Celtics a lockdown backcourt, with White playing next to Marcus Smart. Meanwhile, Richardson was part of the bench unit while Langford was struggling to find minutes in the rotation. This deal also includes a 2028 first-round pick swap, with Boston’s pick top-1 protected.

  • Trade 3

    Dec 15, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Houston Rockets center Daniel Theis (27) rebounds beside guard Josh Christopher (9) and forward Jae’Sean Tate (8) in the third quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

    Celtics get:

    — C Daniel Theis

    Rockets get:

    — G Dennis Schröder
    — F Bruno Fernando
    — C Enes Freedom

    (Full trade details)

    For the second year in a row, the Celtics made a trade involving Daniel Theis just before the trade deadline hit. This time, the Celtics brought back Theis for a second stint, and moved point guard Dennis Schröder. Leading up to Thursday, reports had indicated Schröder – who is on an expiring contract – would be dealt at the deadline.

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Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at mdolloff@985thesportshub.com.