Celtics give extensions to Danny Ainge, Brad Stevens

WALTHAM, Mass. -- The Boston Celtics have given extensions to president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and coach Brad Stevens, the team announced Wednesday.

"It's the principal job of ownership to find the very best people to run the basketball side -- to find them, recruit them, bring them in and offer them all the support and encouragement we can and retain them by creating an environment where they want to stay," said Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck. "These conversations happened recently, very forthrightly. There was great interest on both sides. They were easy conversations. It just represented a great re-commitment from Brad and Danny to the Celtics.

"These jobs -- the president of basketball operations and the head coach of the Boston Celtics are storied positions. Both were held by the incomparable Red Auerbach. I personally believe that Red would be very happy. ... These are the exact people we want to run the Celtics."

Terms were not released and both Ainge and Stevens declined to elaborate on the length and value of their new deals.

Stevens, who was only halfway through his original six-year, $22 million contract, did suggest that it wasn't important to him to be among the highest-paid coaches in the league.

"For me, personally, I've gotten paid more to coach than I ever dreamed I would be," Stevens said after an afternoon news conference at the team's practice facility. "I certainly don't take for granted anything and I've got a heck of a deal. And that's good enough. I'm very thankful for that. No, it's not important to be up in the top whatever. That doesn't cross my mind."

Ainge has often said in recent years that he'd give 39-year-old Stevens a new deal if he could, and evidently he wasn't joking. Stevens said it was an easy decision to extend his deal.

"You want to work in a place where you feel empowered every day, and our ownership and our front office have made that the case," Stevens said. "I love who I'm working with, I love who I'm working for. ... And so our conversation wasn't 15 minutes, but it wasn't much longer. I think the biggest thing was that we all just want to get better. We want to strive to compete, ultimately, to fill in that blank [championship] banner [on the wall at the team's practice facility]. And there's a lot of good fortune that has to accompany that along the way, but when you get a chance to work with people you really enjoy working with is the best part of that journey."

The 57-year-old Ainge, who completed his 13th season, has helped the team post a 565-484 (.539) record during his tenure as president of basketball operations. The team has made 10 trips to the postseason, competed in three Eastern Conference finals, and won the 2008 NBA title during that span.

"This foundation we have is very unique in the world we live in -- the pressure-packed, public world in pro sports," Ainge said. "The fact that we have such great unity with ownership I think is unique. I value that premium. It's a great working environment, I have a great relationship here, stronger trust, year in and year out. As we work together I believe great things will happen in Celtics history.

"Our negotiation was basically, 'Danny, do you want to stay?' [and I said,] 'Wyc, do you want me to stay?' We had a 10- or 15-minute negotiation, and then our focus turned to Brad."

Since being eliminated from the playoffs, the Celtics have announced plans for a pristine new training facility and have extended their coach and general manager. That essentially completes the groundwork for free agency in July, creating stability at the top of the organization and showing that the team is committed to equipping its players with the amenities necessary to best compete for a title.

The Celtics won 48 games this past season and challenged for a top spot in the Eastern Conference. Boston has eight picks in this month's draft, including three first-round selections headlined by the No. 3 pick (delivered from the Brooklyn Nets). Boston, with an intriguing young core signed to team-friendly deals, also has the cap-space flexibility this summer to pursue two max-contract free agents.

In a letter to season-ticket holders announcing the contract extensions, Grousbeck wrote, "With the commitment to success that Danny and Brad have displayed through their contract extensions, a talented core of players, and a multitude of draft picks over the next few years, we are well-positioned as we work tirelessly to raise our next banner together."