It's hard to think of a team that has been more inexplicably disappointing than the Boston Celtics this season, but coach Brad Stevens' job appears safe no matter how the season ends.
Hours before the Celtics' play-in game against the Washington Wizards on Tuesday, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski said that Stevens will be back as head coach next season despite the team's struggles:
"This is still a Boston organization with two star players in [Jaylen] Brown and [Jayson] Tatum with a coach, Brad Stevens, who is going to be back. The idea that his job might be in jeopardy is just not accurate. This is a coach who has been to the conference finals three out of four years. They're going to certainly continue with Brad Stevens.
"They're going to chalk this season up as a disappointment. I do think you'll see some roster movement this offseason, but I don't think you're going to see any changes in their leadership.
All of that is fairly in line with what the Celtics organization has been signaling, as general manager Danny Ainge has repeatedly defended Stevens when asked about his job security in the recent past.
Steven has sent his own signals as well about how he sees his status with the team. He very publicly turned down a chance to coach Indiana's men's basketball team, which the Hoosiers hoped would be a dream job for the Indiana native. There was even a report that he turned down a massive $70 million deal to move to Bloomington, though he has since denied that offer was ever on the table.
Brad Stevens has a lot of work to do
Obviously, all of the above is not to say all is well in Boston. After entering the season as one of the contenders for the Eastern Conference, the Celtics repeatedly struggled with injuries then collapsed down the stretch, losing eight of their last 12 games to fall into the play-in tournament.
The seventh-seeded Celtics are scheduled to face the eighth-seeded Wizards on Tuesday night without Jaylen Brown due to a wrist injury. Sharp bettors have been hammering Washington, which went 15-5 over its last 20 games and 15-4-1 against the spread. The Wizards are two-point underdogs at BetMGM.
If the Celtics fall in the play-in tournament or in the first round against either the Philadelphia 76ers or Brooklyn Nets, it will be their worst finish since at least 2016, when the team lost in the first round.
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