Boston Celtics executive Danny Ainge is retiring as the team’s president of basketball operations, with head coach Brad Stevens moving into the role in the wake of the franchise’s elimination from the playoffs, the Celtics said Wednesday.
Ainge — the only man to win an NBA Championship with the Celtics as both a player and general manager — has led the Celtics front office since his appointment in 2003.
The 62-year-old’s reign included an NBA title in 2008 which also earned Ainge NBA Executive of the Year Honours.
Ainge, who won NBA titles as a player with the Celtics in 1984 and 1986, said the time was right to promote head coach Stevens to his job.
“Helping guide this organization 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.
“I’m grateful to ownership, all of my Celtics colleagues, and the best fans in basketball for being part of the journey.”
Celtics co-owner and governor Wyc Grousbeck paid tribute to Ainge’s “intense drive and incredible basketball insights.”
“Danny has made all the difference over the past 18 years – our record of winning percentage and playoff victories is near the top of the league during that time,” Grousbeck said.
“He has always been a relentless competitor and a winner.”
The Celtics reached the playoffs in 15 of Ainge’s 18 years in charge, advancing to the Eastern Conference finals on seven occasions.
Stevens, who has led the Celtics to a 354-282 record since being appointed by Ainge in 2013, meanwhile said he would lead a “wide-ranging and comprehensive” search for a new head coach.
“I’m grateful to ownership and to Danny for trusting me with this opportunity,” said Stevens.
“I love the Celtics, and know the great honor and responsibility that comes with this job. I will give it everything I have to help us be in position to consistently compete for championships.”
The Celtics were eliminated from the playoffs on Tuesday after the Brooklyn Nets completed a 4-1 series victory with a 123-109 win in game five.