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Celtics coach Brad Stevens tells players he won’t talk to them about trade rumors

Dec 21, 2013, 11:00 AM EDT

New Boston Celtics Head Coach Stevens smiles during a news conference at the Celtics training center in Waltham Reuters

The Celtics have been better than most expected through the first 27 games of the season, and thanks to playing in the dreadful Atlantic Division, their 12-15 record has them sitting at the four seed in the Eastern Conference standings.

That isn’t likely to last all year long, however, and being three games under .500 is not really acceptable when considering the long-term future of the franchise.

Boston was rumored to be active in trade discussions with Houston for Omer Asik earlier in the week, and how close they got to getting a deal done is something that will only be truly known by the people in the two teams’ front offices. Being in a rebuilding situation, the Celtics will likely have talks with many teams leading up to the Feb. 20 trade deadline, and head coach Brad Stevens doesn’t want his players focusing on what might happen when so much can change over the next couple of months.

From Brian Robb of ESPN Boston:

“Here’s what I told them today and I think it’s important,” Stevens explained, “I’m not going to talk to them about anything that is a rumor. But if I know something, my door is always open. They can come in and I’ll tell them straight up what I know, but the bottom line is, we live in a world that every day because of technology, we can better clutter our mind.”

Stevens continued: “The deal is, you can’t play basketball without a clear mind. And so you’ve got to do your best to control what you can, clear your mind, and not get too overly concerned about things that are not confirmed by people in the position that are ultimately going to make decisions.”

It’s easier said than done, of course, with the players having to deal with questions about any reported talks anytime a new situation presents itself. As a head coach, Stevens wants his players as distraction-free as possible, so refusing to discuss every rumor that comes up is probably the right approach.

  1. cranespy - Dec 21, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    Best hire ever…..he will have a long and extremely successful career in Boston…..the Celtics WILL return to glory and Brad Stevens will in the end be in the category with other Celtic HC greats!

    • jcmeyer10 - Dec 21, 2013 at 1:04 PM

      Yah, I figured he would be a great basketball coach but wondered how he would handle the trade/player movement aspect of the game especially when he walks into the situation knowing pretty much everyone is tradeable. He has managed to play this one cool and seems to be saying, no watercooler gossip but if it’s going to get in the way of playing ball, they can ask.

  2. shanelsweet - Dec 21, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    I read his quotes, and took what he said completely different. He pretty clearly said that he WILL talk to them about trade rumors, i;e. “But if I know something, my door is always open. They can come in and I’ll tell them straight up what I know”. And then he said, “you’ve got to do your best to control what you can, clear your mind, and not get too overly concerned about things that are not confirmed by people in the position that are ultimately going to make decisions.” Sounds like he talking about himself as a person in the decision making process, doesn’t it? So if a player hears in the media that he’s being traded, he can ask Brad, and Brad will say yes or no. Isn’t that what every player wants from their management?

  3. 1historian - Dec 21, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    It’s really quite simple – this guy didn’t really have a story and so he invented a rumor, others picked up on it and we’re off to the races.

    DA was taught by the best – Red Auerbach. He will keep his cards close to his chest, play coy, etc. and when he is ready he will make a move, as in pounce. His hiring of Stevens came out of nowhere – remember that.

    Or maybe he won’t do anything – 9 1st rounders in the next 5 drafts is nothing to sneeze at. Jersey made the move believing they were on the verge of a title and KG & Pierce were the final pieces, and that’s not looking too good now. In a few years the Celts will be back, the Nets will be in the lottery with the Celts having their lottery picks and they’ll be sorry.

    I don’t know what genius decided to make this trade with the Celts but I’ m sure glad that he did.

    The Asik (non) trade – Houston wants one of his two 1st rounders in next year’s draft – that ain’t happening.

    Until then everything is speculation and that is all it is.

    • redbaronx - Dec 22, 2013 at 11:44 AM

      @1historian – On one of the other Asik threads I commented that there’s no way Boston would give Houston a pick for Asik in any way shape or form (3rd party…package. Nothing). The article was about “trade rumors”. Heck anyone can make up trade rumors from unnamed sources. That this becomes actual news these days is ridiculous!

      I think you’re absolutely right about Boston reloading fast. I’ve always been an advocate of stockpiling draft picks and building teams through the draft, and only going for FA’s when you’re loaded and need final touches (See Spurs). Most teams are not Miami that can spend their way to a ring.

  4. peterjohnjoseph - Dec 21, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    This guy has the tools to become one of the best in the game… He gets it. His players see that he gets it. They buy in. Every single last one. They mic’d a huddle a few weeks back, the Celtics were up, playing well, and he asked them, “guys, what defense do you want to play right now? What’s working out on the floor?” Thats amazing. A coach asking what his players are feeling, and using it. It makes the players feel like their opinions matter. I hope Danny gives this guy the team he deserves.

  5. Kansachusetts - Dec 21, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    Unless he’s got flaws we haven’t seen, Stevens is going to be a great coach.
    What I want to know is, when’s someone going to do a story on Jordan Crawford?
    This guy has been the key to their season. I mean, the whole team has stepped up, but without Crawford becoming a point guard and taking it seriously, and being able to hit clutch shots in the paint and on the free-throw line, they wouldn’t be the second-tier team that can beat any first-tier team on a given night.

  6. shadowshand - Dec 21, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    And the train wreck that is the Brooklyn Nets just go worse since Lopez broke his foot and is out for the season.

    • 1historian - Dec 22, 2013 at 8:20 AM

      It’s possible that the Celts might actually have 2 lottery picks next year in what is supposed to be a really good draft.

      Plus a good crop of FAs coming out next year – it’ll be a very interesting off-season.

      • iritian - Dec 22, 2013 at 6:09 PM

        Actually its pretty likely the Celtics WON’T have any picks in the lottery considering how they’ll probably make the playoffs this season (unless DA makes some bad trades with the intention of tanking) and also considering that Brooklyn’s pick belongs to the Celtics AFTER the pick is swapped to the Hawks (because of the Joe Johnson trade). So in all likelihood the Celtics will have 2 picks in the 15-20 range unless somehow we don’t make the playoffs or Atlanta decides not to swap picks this draft.

  7. pacers24 - Dec 21, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    12-15, 4th in the east lmao what a horrible year for the East, im so embarrassed for the league

  8. rogerthacker63 - Dec 21, 2013 at 9:27 PM

    Brad doesn’t go for this rumor or gossip crap. 3 games under .500 isn’t bad for a new head coach. Give Brad time he will get better as time goes by.

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