Indiana didn't fail to sign Brad Stevens for lack of trying.
The Boston Celtics head coach reportedly turned down the Hoosiers last month before IU eventually hired Mike Woodson as its head basketball coach. Now we know just how much IU coveted Stevens.
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Indiana was prepared to make Stevens a 7-year, $70 million offer. He reported the news Saturday night during ESPN's NBA studio show.
Annual salary more than Coach K, Calipari
Just how big of a deal is that? It would have made Stevens the highest-paid coach in college basketball by annual salary. More than Duke's Mike Krzyzewski ($9 million, per Forbes). More than Kentucky's John Calipari ($8.6 million per year).
So how much does Stevens make in Boston? That isn't clear. Stevens has coached the Celtics since 2013, initially signing a six-year, $22 million deal in 2013 that pales in comparison to IU's offer. He's since signed a pair of extensions, most recently in 2020.
Terms of his latest extension weren't revealed. It's safe to assume he got a hefty raise over his initial deal. But is he making $10 million annually? That would place him among the highest-paid coaches in the NBA. Would IU have come in under his current salary in its attempt to lure him away?
So nothing was luring Stevens to Bloomington
The bottom line is that it appears that no realistic offer would have swayed Stevens to leave Boston for Bloomington. Stevens has done the college thing, and he's done it well. He took Butler to back-to-back NCAA title games in 2010 and 2011, paving his path to the Celtics job.
Now he's in is eighth season coaching one of the most iconic franchises in all of sports. And he doesn't have to grind on the recruiting trail.
Indiana's a hard sell
Meanwhile, IU is a tough job. It's a program in a perpetual state of rebuild amid local expectations that it's still among college basketball's elite. And it's not. It hasn't been for a long time. That path to success at IU in a hyper-competitive Big Ten is narrow.
While Stevens' Celtics have failed to reach the NBA Finals in his tenure, they're fresh off their third Eastern Conference Finals appearance in four seasons. There's plenty of young talent and promise in Boston and a chance for the 44-year-old Stevens to build his Celtics legacy.
While the $70 million offer is staggering at first glance, it's not hard to see why Stevens turned it down — especially when he can use it as leverage in his next deal.
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