BOSTON — The Green are getting greener.
With aging stars Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce on their way to the Brooklyn Nets and Doc Rivers coaching the Los Angeles Clippers, the Boston Celtics hired Brad Stevens, 36, from Butler as their next head coach Wednesday.
The move turns over the tradition-bound franchise to a mentor who is younger than Garnett and wasn't born when Bill Russell won his 11th NBA championship in 1969 — or when John Havlicek added two more in the 1970s. It's the first time the Celtics have hired a college coach since Rick Pitino in 1997, and Stevens will be their first coach without NBA experience of any kind since Alvin "Doggie" Julian gave way to Red Auerbach in 1950.
"Though he is young, I see Brad as a great leader who leads with impeccable character and a strong work ethic," Celtics general manager Danny Ainge said in a news release. "His teams always play hard and execute on both ends of the court. Brad is a coach who has already enjoyed lots of success, and I look forward to working with him towards Banner 18."
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Stevens has spent the past six years as the coach of Butler, leading the Bulldogs to back-to-back national championship games in 2010 and 2011. He has a career winning percentage of .772 and never won fewer than 22 games in a season.
He takes over a team that is three seasons removed from an appearance in the NBA finals; the Celtics won their unprecedented 17th championship in 2008. But with Garnett and Pierce showing signs of slowing down during this year's playoffs, when Boston was eliminated by the New York Knicks in the first round, Ainge has decided to rebuild.
He allowed Rivers to take over the Clippers, extracting a first-round draft choice in return. Amid last week's NBA draft, the Celtics and Nets agreed to a deal that would send Garnett and Pierce to Brooklyn in exchange for a package of players and three first-round draft picks.
Now, Stevens will be the one to work with those young players.
"Our family is thrilled for the opportunity given to us by the leadership of the Boston Celtics, but it is emotional to leave a place that we have called home for the past 13 years," Stevens said in a news release issued by Butler. "We truly love Butler University and Indianapolis, and are very thankful to have had the opportunity to celebrate so many wonderful things together."
At Butler, Stevens was 166-49 — the most wins for any Division I coach during the first six years of his career. In 2009-10, the Bulldogs went 33-5, including the Horizon League's first 18-0 conference record, a 25-game winning streak and an appearance in the NCAA title game, where they lost to Duke 61-59 when a last-second, half-court shot bounced off the backboard and rim and out.
The next year, Butler lost the title game to Connecticut. Former Bryan Station star Shelvin Mack was a key player on both Butler teams.
"Brad has given his talent to our university with exceptional generosity, integrity, and humility," Butler President James M. Danko said, calling Stevens "a beloved member of our community."
"We have done everything we can to keep Brad here at Butler; however, the Celtics team has offered Brad and his family a unique opportunity with which no university can compete."
Ginobili staying with Spurs
Manu Ginobili is sticking around to see whether the San Antonio Spurs can get back to the top.
He tweeted Wednesday that he was staying with the team he has helped win three NBA titles and nearly a fourth last month. "Thrilled to announce that as I always hoped, I'm gonna stay with the @Spurs for two more years," the Argentine star wrote.
Ginobili, who turns 36 this month, battled injuries during the season and said he would think about retirement after the playoffs.
Ex-Cat Mohammed sticks with the Bulls
Veteran center Nazr Mohammed says he is staying with the Chicago Bulls.
The former Kentucky star announced Tuesday on Twitter that he would re-sign with his hometown team, saying that it was "an easy decision" and that he was looking forward to "going to battle with a group of guys who never made excuses and just tried to find a way to win."
Several media outlets also reported that the Bulls have agreed to a two-year deal with Mike Dunleavy Jr. as they try to boost their shooting. Dunleavy, an 11-year veteran, spent the past two years with Milwaukee and averaged 10.5 points while shooting 42.8 percent on 3-pointers.
Grizzlies re-sign Allen to 4-year deal
The Memphis Grizzlies have re-signed Tony Allen to a four-year contract worth $20 million, a person familiar with the agreement said Tuesday.
Allen is one of the league's best perimeter defenders and a key to the Grizzlies' run to the Western Conference finals last season. He drew interest from other teams but decided to stick with a Memphis team coming off the best season in franchise history.
Allen was the leading vote-getter for the All-Defensive team and finished fifth in voting for Defensive Player of the Year.