Before former Butler coach Brad Stevens took Doc Rivers' old Boston Celtics job, he took his advice.

The phone call made last month was a favor to a friend of Rivers, a general manager in the NBA who wanted to gauge Stevens' interest in leaving the college game to join the team that Rivers, in an interview with USA TODAY Sports, decided not to name. All signs point to the Phoenix Suns, as former Celtics executive Ryan McDonough recently took control of their front office and, according to the Arizona Republic, had considered Stevens for his opening that ultimately went to Jeff Hornacek.

Their situations were different but very much the same too – two men contemplating the idea of leaving successful programs behind in exchange for a new challenge. So they talked about the pros and cons of dramatic change, then hung up and went their separate ways. Nearly a month later, Stevens would head for the Celtics after Rivers had been, in essence, traded to the Los Angeles Clippers.

"I talked to him about a month ago about another (NBA head coaching) job where somebody else was thinking about hiring him and the GM from there called me to talk to Brad to get a feel if he wanted to coach in the NBA," Rivers told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday. "And then the way it works out, four weeks later, he takes my job (laughs). It's funny. I told him that he'd be an excellent NBA coach, and he's ready for it.

"Whether you want to leave Butler or not, now that's up to you. I said that's a personal situation, and it's funny because I told him, I said, 'I'm going through that right now, and I don't know what I'm going to do.' Maybe the fact he saw me leave, he thinks, 'Well (expletive), I'm leaving too.'"