Danny Ainge is retiring from his role as Celtics president of basketball operations, the team announced Wednesday.
Team owners Wyc Grousbeck and Steve Pagliuca, joined by Ainge and Brad Stevens — who will assume Ainge’s role after serving as head coach since 2013 — held a press conference to discuss Ainge’s departure and Stevens’s promotion. Here’s what they said.
Wyc Grousbeck, team owner
“This is a bittersweet day to commemorate the departure, retirement of an all-time great: Danny Ainge. Won championships as a player and won a championship as a head of basketball. [It’s] unprecedented in Celtics history. [He’s] one of the truly finest people I’ve ever met in my life.”
Steve Pagliuca, co-owner
“I met Danny, I think, in the in the late ’80s and have always respected and felt honored he played in Boston, and to have him here at the Celtics for this period of time, and see all the success and work, side by side with Brad, has been one of the best experiences of my life, and [this is] truly a bittersweet day.”
“When Wyc and Steve first approached me to come to Boston, I was in a pretty good place; I was playing golf a lot, doing work in TV one day a week. … And you know one thing that they won me over on was the quality of people that I believed that I was going to work for. … I really felt [Grousbeck was] a genuine person that was trying to make, not just win a championship and bring banner No. 17, but also try to make the world a better place.
“I love basketball, it’s been part of my whole life, I’ve been in professional sports for 44 straight years, and I’ve had a lot of ups and downs and fun and sad losses and, you know today is not a great day. I wish we would have, you know, finished the year on a much better note, but I feel like there’s so much hope and the Celtics going forward, and I’m excited for Brad.”
“One of my big fears coming here was the day that Danny decided he would step away, because when you’re in coaching, and you ride the waves of each win, each loss, each bad practice drill, each thing that doesn’t go your way or does go your way, it’s so important to be surrounded by people that have a great understanding of the challenges — that truly love the joys that come with it, but also find great joy in overcoming the toughest of days, and Danny has provided that support as my boss of constant empowerment for the last eight years.”
What’s next for Ainge?
“I don’t know what my future holds,” Ainge said. “I don’t have any plans right now. ... My goal is to get Brad up to speed on the draft. Like I said, our whole staff will be able to help and try to make this transition, and put the Celtics in as good a place as we can be. And I’ll think about the future somewhere in the future.”
Katie McInerney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @k8tmac.