When Danny Ainge stepped down as the Celtics’ president of basketball operations after Boston got bounced out of the first round of the playoffs in five games by Brooklyn, it caught many off guard. Brad Stevens going from the Celtics’ head coach to his successor was even more surprising.
It also created the unusual and potentially uncomfortable dynamic of a new head coach coming into an environment where his predecessor was still hanging around.
But that wasn’t the vibe Ime Udoka sensed as he and Boston’s brass, Stevens included, got to know each other.
“More so than anything, it wasn’t about, obviously, you talk about the expectations and the standard of the organization, but really basketball philosophy and where we wanted to go as an organization. And the way I thought the game on both ends ; the way I related to people was a big part of it, and how we could push the group forward,” Udoka said on Wednesday while discussing the nature of his conversations with Stevens during the interview process.
“With Brad, we kind of hit it off from the get-go and thought the same way, and so we obviously felt comfortable, and there were some benefits of working with somebody who feels the same way.
Regarding his relationship with Stevens, Udoka also conveyed: “With him, it’s been great. Different situation that a lot of people may not think is appealing, but I think it’s only a benefit to have a guy that’s coached for seven-eight years in the building with the same guys down the hall. Talk about every situation he’s been through and lend his support as far as that, but also step back and let me do my thing. I think it’s only been an added benefit, and in a unique situation, it’s helped out this year for sure.”
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