Report: Indiana University was ready to offer Celtics' Brad Stevens seven-year, $70 million contract

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Dana Hunsinger Benbow, Indianapolis Star
·2 min read
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As the words slipped out of ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski's mouth, Jalen Rose stood up on the studio set, clutching his chest in astonishment.

"I was told that Indiana was prepared to offer him seven years, $70 million," Wojnarowski said.

Indiana University, during its search for a coach to replace the fired Archie Miller, was set to give a seven-year, $70 million contract to Celtics coach Brad Stevens, Wojnarowski said Saturday on NBA Countdown.

"Hey, Juwan, you hear that? Juwan, you hear that?" Rose said to his former Michigan teammate now the Wolverines coach. "I'm sorry. Oh my god. I need to go back to college. ... Wow, really?"

Stevens did not entertain the idea, Wojnarowski said.

Dec 11, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens reacts on the sidelines during the first quarter against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Dec 11, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens reacts on the sidelines during the first quarter against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

"Leaving the Boston Celtics for a college job, it doesn't make sense," he said. "He's in that high-$6 (million), low $7-million a year range anyway."

Rose said he didn't blame Stevens for passing the IU coaching post up.

"It's better to be in the league," he said. "He can get the same money in the league without having to go recruiting and having to do all the stuff that comes with being a college coach."

When Stevens was asked about the possibility of going to IU, before Woodson was hired, he made clear the answer was no.

"I said it the other day: I'm not. And I tried to say it as clearly as I could and also make sure that people understand that that place, to me, (is) special," Stevens said at a pregame news conference March 19, according to ESPN's Tim Bontemps. "I love coming to work every day. I love this area. People have been great to us. My family is so happy. And, at the same time, home is home. And that's why I wanted to make sure everybody understood that means a lot. But no. Just like I said on Tuesday, I'm not. So, I don't know if I will have to answer that again on Monday, but I hope people understand that. And people can hopefully appreciate that it still means a lot to me and I hope they hire whoever (they) hire and they are there for 20 years and kids feel like I did. But I'm not a kid anymore. I'm a 44-year-old Masshole."

IU hired Woodson, a former player and assistant with the Knicks, March 28. IndyStar has reported that Woodson and Indiana agreed to a six-year deal that will pay him approximately $3 million per year.

"Indiana, they ended up hiring Mike Woodson," Wojnaroswki said Saturday. "But not nearly at that number."

Follow IndyStar sports reporter Dana Benbow on Twitter: @DanaBenbow. Reach her via email: dbenbow@indystar.com.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Brad Stevens, Indiana? IU was set to offer him $70 million, per reprot