Ainge, Stevens receive contract extensions from Celtics



The reshaping of the Celtics will take place over the next two months through the NBA Draft, trades and free agency.

As they get set to go through that important process, the Celtics have already made two moves to assure there will be stability in key positions in the organization.

Danny Ainge, who has been the president of basketball operations since 2003, and Brad Stevens, the head coach for the past three seasons, have signed contract extensions that will keep them together into the next decade.

“This is clearly the right decision for the Celtics,’’ said team owner Wyc Grousbeck during a Wednesday afternoon press conference. “We’re very pleased and thankful that they’re with us for the long term. It’s a great day for the Boston Celtics.’’

When Ainge and Stevens begin making their pitches to free agents on July 1, they will be armed with the fact that the two of them will be around for a while.

Terms of the extensions were not announced, but Ainge’s deal was running out in less than two years while Stevens was originally signed through the 2018-19 season after receiving a six-year contract to leave Butler in 2013.

“We have stability, and stability is very, very important for the perception of our fan base, the league, players,’’ said Ainge. “I think all of those things are important. It’s important for everybody to know we’re all together for the long haul.’’

Ainge was hired 13 years ago last month during the Celtics-New Jersey Nets’ playoff series while he was working for TNT cable. He built the Celtics into a championship team in five years and now has them positioned to vastly improve this offseason with three first-round draft picks and salary-cap space.

“I love working here,’’ said Ainge, who said he needed 15 minutes of negotiations with Grousbeck to seal a new deal. “I have a great relationship with our ownership and coach Stevens and I feel like we’re just building a stronger and stronger trust year in and year out.

“The longer we’re together I really believe great things are going to happen and I’m very excited about the next chapter in Celtics’ history.’’

Stevens, who has improved the team’s win total from 25 in 2013-14 to 48 this past season, is one of the league’s top young coaches despite having only three years of experience.

Still, there have been plenty of rumors floating around that he might one day return to the college ranks for a job at Duke, North Carolina or Indiana. Stevens insists that talk never came from him, and the extension shows his commitment to the Celtics and the NBA.

“It’s never been a question for me,’’ said Stevens. “The only time it gets brought up is when I get asked about it. This is what I wanted to do.

“I was a lot more nervous the last time we sat up here right after I signed on (in 2013) because it was really hard to leave a place you really loved.

“I lived leaving that once. I really like where I am.’’

The Celtics had eight more players, including Jaylen Brown of California, in for pre-draft workouts on Wednesday. Ainge and his son, Austin, the team’s director of player personnel, just returned from an overseas trip where they looked at European players including Dragan Bender.

There is a lot of work to be done in the upcoming weeks, and Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens will be tackling the challenge knowing they are going to be here for a while.

“You want to work at a place where you feel empowered every day,’’ said Stevens. “Our ownership and front office have made that the case. I love who I’m working with. It’s great to be here and we’re looking forward to the next challenge ahead.”



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