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Brad Stevens’ promotion to run the Celtics will raise eyebrows around the NBA

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As they took their seats at the 2010 NCAA men’s national championship game, Danny Ainge, the Boston Celtics’ director of basketball operations, made a declaration to team owner Steve Pagliuca. They were about to watch Mike Krzyzewski’s Duke Blue Devils take on the upstart Butler Bulldogs, coached by then 33-year-old Brad Stevens.

“I said to Steve at the time, ‘That’s the best coach in college basketball right down there,’” Ainge recalled years later. “He thought I was talking about Coach K.”

Ainge, like much of the basketball world, was enamored with Stevens. Three years year later — after Stevens got Butler back to another championship game — Ainge and Pagliuca lured him to the NBA and made him the Celtics’ head coach.

It was a bold move. Stevens had no NBA experience. It was also expected to pay off. Big.

It didn’t, at least not to the standards of the Celtics, who own 17 NBA championships. That’s part of the deal in Boston, where it’s almost all or nothing. Stevens proved to be a good coach. There is no questioning that. He never got to the Finals though. His eighth season ended Tuesday night in a blowout loss and a gentleman’s sweep at the hands of Brooklyn.

By morning, Ainge was resigning and Stevens was moving into the front office to take the job. Boston will look for a new coach.

The move was dizzying, a shock across the NBA and left as many questions as answers.

Start with this: exactly what experience or track record has Stevens displayed to get him an immediate promotion to run a franchise that is rivaled only by the Los Angeles Lakes as the most storied in NBA history? He was impressive at drawing up plays, but does that translate? Is this a job he’ll be good at? If so, how?

Pagliuca and primary owner Wyc Grousbeck felt the team needed a reboot. Ainge, in 18 years on the job, built the 2008 NBA championship team, but never capitalized on a recent boatload of draft picks and the franchise’s numerous advantages to get back there.

As such, wouldn’t looking at a pool of candidates make sense? If Stevens was being groomed for the job, then he was involved in some of the missteps — big or small — that left the roster hamstrung.

This was a backroom, planned-out deal … the old boy network at work.

That Stevens is white in a league that is so predominantly Black will be of great interest across the sport. Even if you believe the hire was 100 percent justified professionally and ethically, as a simple practical and competitive matter, how it came about is significant.

In the modern NBA, attracting star free agents is as important as drafts and development. Narratives matter. Reputation matters. Stevens may prove to be the greatest general manager of all time, but the Celtics walked right into this punch. The way he got the job made doing the job more difficult.

After all, it was Brooklyn that Ainge fleeced in 2013, sending aging stars Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Nets for a run of top draft picks. As recently as 2018, Brooklyn had little hope and few draft picks. Boston had a supposed title contender.

Now it’s Boston reshuffling and Brooklyn plotting out a parade route because it could attract Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and James Harden.

It is on Pagliuca and Grousbeck to explain their thinking, to sell the decision and the process.

Stevens is a very smart guy and a very creative Xs and Os coach. Again, he may be great. He is widely respected within the NBA and being offered control of the Celtics sure isn’t his fault. Anyone would take it.

But from the outside, here is a coach who never got the team over the top. His only NBA front office experience would be working with Ainge, who during Stevens’ time couldn’t piece enough of the puzzle together to get them there.

Did he learn from Ainge’s recent mistakes? Or are the Celtics fine with their current construct and are writing off this season to injuries and the reality that perhaps no one can handle the Brooklyn buzzsaw anyway?

If so, that’s fine. Boston’s roster has youth and talent. This year’s early exit notwithstanding, this is hardly some cratering mess.

If nothing else, this should continue to stomp out whatever faint hope college basketball fans hold that Stevens will return to that level and save their program. Despite not wanting to be an NBA coach for the foreseeable future, Stevens wasn’t even interested in taking over Indiana University, in his home state.

He’s an NBA guy at this point. The college game, where coaches can get caught discussing “strong ass” recruiting offers on FBI wiretaps and still maintain their employment isn’t very appealing to those who don’t want to wade into the muck. It’s part of what sent him to the NBA. It’s gotten only worse since.

For Stevens, just 44, this is the new challenge, making the moves from the front office, not the sideline, to get Boston back to hanging banners at North Station.

The way he got the job was wild, unexpected and will raise eyebrows across the league. There’s nothing to do now but prove he was the man for the job anyway.

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Maria Sakkari shows off great form in Bikini. INSTAGRAM PICTURE

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Maria Sakkari is one of the fittest players in the world. The Greek sensation maintained her enviable fitness during the Coronavirus pandemic and she was not shy to show off her figure.

Maria posted a couple of pictures of her in a bikini while enjoying the European summer. Why Not?

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GIRLFRIEND? Why Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari were rumoured dating

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Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari are making their country proud after both reached the semi-final of the Roland Garros.

After the demise of many top players in the females’ draw, Maria Sakkari is now considered the top favorite to win the slam. According to some betting companies. Also, Stefanos has a great opportunity to finally conquer his maiden slam title.

Stefanos and Maria are extremely close. At the end of 2018, they played together a very entertaining Hopman Cup defending the colors of Greece. The chemistry between the 2 was clear to everyone and, for this reason, there were many rumors about Stefanos and Maria dating.

It was never confirmed that Stefanos and Maria were an item. However, it’s clear that they are still on great terms. Currently, Stefanos has been dating his girlfriend Theodora Petalas.

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Naomi Osaka Serves Off The Tennis Court in Bright Green Bikini

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We may know 23-year-old Naomi Osaka as the No. 2 ranked tennis pro, but she’s also coming in hot with her new bikini designing and modeling gig. The four-time Grand Slam singles champion rocked a bright green satin triangle bikini and snapped a pic for Instagram on Sunday.

In the post, Naomi revealed that she’s collaborating with Frankie’s Bikini’s on a brand new swimwear collection with exclusive designs.

“I cannot wait for you guys to see what we’ve been working on,” she captioned the photo.

The collection is available in sizes XS-XXL now, and if you’re anything like me, you’ve been preparing for hot girl summer and looking for the perfect swimsuit. If you want to snag Naomi’s exact style, I’ve got you covered.

Naomi is noticeably toned in her photo, and she shared her fitness routine with Us Weekly.

“I always start and end my workout with music,” she said. “It keeps me focused and keeps me motivated for what’s next.”

She also shared that she powers up for her workouts with a smoothie. According to an interview with Mind Body Green, the athlete alternates between a coconut smoothie made with chia seeds, banana and coconut water, and a green coconut smoothie made with lemon, spinach, cucumbers and coconut water.

Her workout routine also consists of a stretching warmup, groundstrokes, cardio and footwork drills with her trainer, Abdul Sillah.

With all that work being put in, it’s no wonder Naomi’s serving on and off the tennis court

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