Danny Ainge out, Brad Stevens off the bench; Boston Celtics hold cards to make history

Danny Ainge is out. Brad Stevens is moving to the front office. The Boston Celtics have the potential to make some serious 21st-century waves.

Spoken frankly, no fanbase, franchise, or city, is in greater need of this decision to be a true revolution. Boston: You know this.

Now, look, if you’re new to the Take The Field blog, you might be expecting this to be a basketball-first opinion.

Yeah. You might expect that.

But the Take the Field crew is not about that life. This is about hoop, sure. But there’s so much to this decision.

Lookit: We are mere days removed from the ugliness of a Celtics fan assaulting Kyrie Irving with a water bottle following Kyrie’s comments about racism in Boston.

We’re about a week removed from the publication of this remarkable episode of Liberty, Justice and Ball, in which Hall of Famer Robert Parish opens up to Kris Rhim and Marty Dobrow about his experience in Boston.

We’re barely decades removed from the Celtics rookie Dee Brown being held at gunpoint by Boston police in a case of mistaken identity, and from the Boston busing riots of the 1970s.

We’ve heard these stories before. About this city. About these issues.

Is the next Celtics coach pictured above? A guy can dream.

As a Boston sports fan, and a born-and-raised Massachusetts kid, I know how much blowback these discussions receive. I’m sure I’ll receive my own share of flames for such a post.

So here’s the thing: From a basketball standpoint, this roster is dope. There’s so much young talent, and just enough veteran leadership to keep this team on the front burner for years to come. It’s damn near impossible not to love watching these guys ball.

But let’s think big picture, and about the historical impact that the *right* hire could make on the league as a whole. The Celtics are a premier sports franchise, with a mostly awesome legacy and a favorable reputation across the sports world.

The organization that broke the coaching color barrier in North American pro sports when Bill Russell served as player coach in from 1966-1969 could set the pace, once again, for a new wave of sports hires. And while I certainly don’t have any inside information, I can’t stop fixating on two names–both of which are full pie-in-the-sky wish-list names. And both are in the image to the right.

For the record, Gregor Walz was the first I saw to call for it.

Yes, I’m talking about Tim Duncan, who would (finally!) make it to Boston after the Spurs 1997 tank-job foiled the Green’s plans. Incredibly, Duncan would be just the sixth black coach in the history of the franchise–a franchise that has had just 17 coaches.

The other candidate is Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon. The 44-year-old Spurs assistant has credentials and credibility for days. Her grittiness and hoop-acuity is unquestionable. Her credibility with the current stars of the league is unwavering. She would be an instant cultural force across sports and entertainment.

The time is now. I only hope Celtics ownership and Brad Stevens have the guts to make it happen.

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