Why didn't Celtics pursue Sam Presti more strongly for GM role?


Brad Stevens will have his work cut out for him as the Boston Celtics' new president of basketball operations.

Stevens took over Danny Ainge's job Wednesday after eight seasons as Celtics head coach despite having no prior front office experience. Considering the C's face important decisions up and down the roster this offseason, might they have benefited from pursuing a more seasoned candidate?

Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix believes that's the case, saying Wednesday on NBC Sports Boston's Early Edition he found it "a little bit perplexing" that the Celtics didn't at least contact Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti before giving the job to Stevens.

Forsberg: Is Stevens the right man to lead the C's forward?

"People that don't know Sam Presti, he was born and raised in Concord, Mass., he played college basketball at Emerson, and oh by the way, he's arguably the best GM in the entire game," Mannix said, as seen in the video above. "I think a conversation with Sam Presti would have been warranted as the Celtics look to find the best person for this particular job."

According to The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor, the Celtics actually "pondered" pursuing Presti before committing to Stevens. But Mannix pointed out that the C's could have promoted Stevens at any point this offseason, and that Presti's strong track record should have warranted more consideration from Boston.

"If you have a chance, however big it was, to hire potentially the best GM in all of basketball, I don't know why you (don't) pursue it," Mannix said. 

"... It feels like there was an opportunity there to pursue Sam Presti. And then if you get Presti -- who by the way has a great relationship with Brad Stevens, like, has tried to hire Brad Stevens or at least considered it in the past -- you have the top GM in the game and one of the top coaches in the game as you move this thing forward."

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Stevens may have been at the end of the line as Celtics coach anyway, though: He admitted during a press conference Wednesday that his players could be "reinvigorated" by a new head coach with "fresh perspectives," and that he was ready to take on a new challenge in Boston's front office.

As for why the C's didn't make a stronger push for a veteran GM like Presti, who has helped the Thunder amass a treasure chest of future first-round picks? According to Ainge, that answer may lie with Celtics majority owner Wyc Grousbeck.

"I could tell that Wyc wasn't really very excited about the people he thought he could get to replace me," Ainge said Thursday on 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Toucher & Rich." "And then when Brad talked with Wyc, they just broached the subject, and I think Wyc was very excited ... because they have a relationship, and the owner-president relationship, it's very close.

"So, I think Wyc just has a trust of Brad, an understanding of how smart and hard-working he is and how much he knows about basketball, and that excited Wyc."

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