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Danny Ainge Laughs Off Report That He Saved Brad Stevens' Job During Season

BOSTON (CBS) -- In the middle of the Celtics' massive front-office shuffle on Wednesday morning, there was an interesting report that someone in the organization wanted to fire Brad Stevens during the season, and Danny Ainge was among those who stepped in to keep that from happening.

It was even more interesting considering Stevens was promoted to Ainge's position as president of basketball ops. following Ainge's retirement on Wednesday. Usually, someone who was on the brink of being fired doesn't get promoted just a few months later.

That is why Ainge laughed off that report during his Thursday morning radio interview on 98.5 The Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich.

Roughly 12 hours after Boston's season ended at the hands of the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs, Ian Begley of SNY reported that a "prominent member of the Celtics organization" wanted Stevens "fired immediately" during the regular season. Ainge and others reportedly prevented that from happening.

Asked about that report on Thursday, Ainge wholeheartedly dismissed that Stevens' job was ever in jeopardy.

"That's just not true," Ainge said with a chuckle. "That's a source they probably don't want to get any info from again."

Ainge was taken aback by the concept of Stevens being on the brink of getting fired a few months ago, only to be promoted to the top spot in the organization on Wednesday.

"Just think of that. Here's a person that says someone in the organization wants to fire [Stevens], but then they make him president of basketball operations. How does that work?" Ainge questioned.

There were plenty of times during the season when fans were calling for both Ainge and Stevens to be dismissed. But as he did throughout the season, Ainge did not put all the blame on Stevens for Boston's struggles in 2021.

"This year was a bad year and we all know that. But it wasn't because of Brad. People are always looking for a scapegoat. I don't think it's anybody's fault – it's everybody's fault," said Ainge.

Stevens will now be making the decisions for the Celtics, and his first order of business is finding a new head coach. Ainge will help Stevens in his transition to his new gig, which will include getting him ready for this summer's NBA Draft, but the coaching decision will be all Brad's.

As for how Stevens will fare in his new role, Ainge has all the confidence in the world that he'll have the Celtics back near the top of the NBA soon.

"I have a great deal of respect for him and I think he's a star -- a star in the making," said Ainge. "He's going to do a fantastic job. I'm excited for him."

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