Danny Ainge felt the heat after the Celtics’ first-round playoff elimination.
The team’s president of basketball operations is stepping down from his role, according to Shams Charania of the Athletic. Additionally, head coach Brad Stevens is “planning to transition” from that position to become the Celtics’ new head of basketball operations.
The report comes on the heels of Boston’s five-game exit in the first round of the playoffs against the Nets. The series ended on Tuesday night in a 123-109 Game 5 blowout.
The seventh-seeded Celtics finished 36-36 in the regular season and advanced through the play-in tournament to reach the playoffs. The Celtics were expected to be among the contenders in the Eastern Conference, but instead were just a playoff appetizer for the powerful Nets.
Any chance of a postseason run for the Celtics seemed to be ruined when Jaylen Brown suffered a wrist injury late in the season.
Rumors around coach Stevens’ future swirled throughout the turbulent season, though Ainge has been supportive and taken blame for any failings.
Now in the front office, Stevens will lead the search for the team’s next head coach, according to Charania.
Ainge, now 62, joined the Celtics front office in 2003, where he has remained for 18 years.
In 2009, Ainge was named NBA Executive of the Year after assembling the Celtics’ championship roster with Hall of Famers Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.