Celtics Notes: Stevens, Fields, Presti, Ainge, Holtmann

The Celtics promoted Brad Stevens from head coach to president of basketball operations today, but they never considered having him handle both roles, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Stevens said he would have been happy to continue coaching if Danny Ainge was still running the front office, but he began considering the move in conversations with owner Wyc Grousbeck when Ainge started talking about retirement.

Grousbeck said he considers coaching and personnel decisions to be “two separate jobs,” and Bontemps adds that neither Stevens or management pushed for a dual role. The idea of having a head coach with a prominent voice in front office decisions has become less common across the league in recent years.

“I think it’s too much (to do both jobs),” Stevens said. “All of my intention, energy, focus is doing this job well, and hiring a great coach and trusting they will do their job well. I think that everyone will benefit from that approach. To me, that would have been a lot to be able to do both of those things. I know some people have done it, some people have done it really well, but that would have been a great challenge.”

There’s more from Boston:

  • Hawks assistant general manager Landry Fields has been mentioned as a candidate to become GM of the Celtics, a source tells Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News (Twitter link). Bondy notes that Fields could complement Stevens because of his history in dealing with agent and player relationships.
  • Before turning to Stevens, the Celtics thought about trying to land long-time Thunder general manager Sam Presti, sources confirmed to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. A Massachusetts native, Presti has been with the organization since 2007 when it was still in Seattle. Several other internal candidates were considered, according to O’Connor, who adds that there have been reports for months that Ainge might be leaving, with speculation that he would be interested in working for Utah, where much of his family lives, or possibly Portland.
  • Ainge’s decision to step down has been in the works for a couple of months, tweets Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald. Sources tell Murphy that Ainge informed ownership of his intentions shortly after the March 25 trade deadline.
  • Ohio State’s Chris Holtmann is a strong “sleeper” candidate as the Celtics begin their search for a new head coach, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic. Like Stevens, Holtmann is a former Butler coach and has enjoyed success in the college ranks. Hollinger mentions Dayton’s Anthony Grant as another under-the-radar possibility.