Highlights from Wyc Grousbeck and Bob Epstein’s appearance on The Big Show
|06.23.11 at 4:49 pm ET|
On the day of the NBA draft, Celtics owners Wyc Grousbeck and Bob Epstein joined The Big Show to talk about a myriad of topics including how the 2011 season ended, the Doc Rivers contract extension and even just precisely who Danny Ainge would have selected had he had the first pick in the 2007 NBA draft (hint: he led the NBA in scoring last season).
Here’s a transcript of that interview. (To hear the entire segment, visit The Big Show’s audio on demand page.)
On how the season ended:
WG: You know what they say, the ring adds 10 years. No, we’re all wearing the rings but we want another one. We had a good shot this year. They beat us fair and square, but we had a good shot. If Rondo doesn’t go down and practically break his arm in that deathhold that he was in and some few other things happened, but they beat us fair and square. This team might have a chance a la Dallas, along those lines, to contend next year if we can get them some help. That’s probably Plan A.
On continuing on the same course:
WG: That’s the question. First of all, we don’t want to talk about roster moves in depth on air before they’re even thought of. … Also, we’d have to consider if we did decide to change things wholesale, would you be able to get a contending team back in the near term? That’s part that goes into it. We consider this team as a good team. It needs to get better. We’re going to try to do that.
On being able to afford changes given success of other three Boston teams:
WG: I think the beautiful thing about being here is that we’re all so excited about sports. Our numbers have never been better. We renewed 98 percent of our season tickets. The Bruins, unbelievable that they’re champions. We’re thrilled. We sell premium tickets, clubs and suites, with the Bruins, and it’s fantastic for us even business-wise, although that’s not where we start with the Bruins. It’s not where we start with the Patriots, the Red Sox. We’re happy for them.
It just adds up positively. I think Boston teams will be building off this decade for decades to come. It’s going to be success breeds success. I’m happy to be a part of Boston sports.
On three years ago feeling like it was a long time ago:
BE: It felt like a long time ago three weeks ago. Certainly feeling badly that we weren’t there [at the NBA finals], but the season was what it was. You can’t control injuries. I think you can assume that frankly between our ownership group and our basketball, Danny and Doc, there will never be a time that the goal isn’t a championship. Whatever steps that will be made will be made in that direction and positively in that direction.
On being able to afford a rebuilding stage:
BE: You’re trying to define patience. I don’t think we would look at rebuilding a team over 10 years. There’s always the eye towards being a strong team.
On looking back at 2011 season:
WG: I think back to ’08 and I think some of Game 7s we played and we got through them. Then, we lost a Game 7 in ’10. Then this year, we lost to Miami. You know, it’s close when you win, it’s close when you lose. I’m fine with how it shook out. I think Danny believes, Doc believes, we all believe we were close this year. It’s not far-fetched that we could have had a parade this year. I just want to remind myself that we didn’t win, and we ought to be just as energized about building the next champion if we can.
BE: And the piece you can’t control is injuries. There’s certainly good conditioning programs, the players work real hard to get in good shape and good condition and be less injury-prone. Ultimately, there’s still injuries. They’re unpredictable. Injuries are somewhat random. We just have to live with injuries. It does affect the outcome obviously. When certain players go down, it’s a real problem.
On turnaround in Boston sports:
WG: In the nineties, we were absolutely miserable around here. We were Loserville. We were Cleveland on the Atlantic. Now, what are we? Everyone’s envious and annoyed.
On success of one team driving other teams in region:
BE: I don’t think one team drives the other team locally. We’re not connected. The ownership and management is all separate and distinct. But it is great to have very good coaches and have coaches last and have that stability. I believe frankly the continuity and stability does make a very big difference in how they run, in our case, basketball operations but certainly how they run their baseball, hockey, football operations. Having people who know each other, are used to each other, who work together for a long time, who think alike makes a very big difference.
On the continuity of the Celtics organization in particular:
WG: The same people are here, on the business side as well as on the basketball side. By the end of ’03, certainly by ’04, we had the people in place who are here now on business and basketball. Many of the people on the business side are here from before. You know [VP Media Relations/Alumni Relations] Jeff Twiss obviously, [Chief Marketing Officer] Sean Sullivan, the guys who are the bedrock of the place. I just gave them all raises probably. But they’re here for a reason.
On keeping Rivers in the organization:
BE: I think it’s been a very good, harmonious relationship with Doc. I’m not surprised that he’s settled in for the long term. … I think Doc had the support of his family. It was very important. His family really encouraged him. They knew that his love was being a coach, and they really encouraged him not to give up that opportunity.
WG: I think it’s fair to say he had a better year this year. I’ve heard Danny say anyway that his close friend, Doc, was a little worn down. Coming off Game 7 [of the 2010 NBA finals]. I think it’s been a better year this year, a positive year in ’11, although we didn’t get as far. We went to Doc early and said, ‘It really would be helpful to have you re-up, and we’d like you to stay and would you consider it. He came back promptly and said, ‘I’ve talked to my family. I would like to do it.’ And we struck the deal. We went ahead and did it. It was our confidence in giving the offer, his confidence in accepting it. It was very comfortable. There was no difficulty to it. Maybe he’s in a different place this year than last year, we would have respected it if he wanted to do a one-year or wait a little longer. But we really wanted to make a long-term commitment to start moving the team forward.
On Game 7 of the 2010 NBA finals and its effect on Rivers:
Well, I think that’s a tough loss. Losing in LA. I don’t want to lose anywhere, but that’s not a good place to lose. … Thanks for bringing it up.
On Thursday’s NBA draft:
WG: I’m revved to the max. I’m jacked and pumped.
On the 2007 draft in which the C’s could have had the top pick in the draft but ended with the fifth, which was eventually shipped to Seattle in exchange for Ray Allen:
WG: I went down with Tommy and Helen Heinsohn to Secaucus, N.J. [for the NBA lottery] and my car broke down on the way to the airport. We got number five, and it turned out the lucky suit worked. That was actually a good pick for us but we didn’t think of it at the time.
On who the team would’ve picked had it got the first pick:
WG: I’m telling you, Danny was picking [Kevin Durant]. … Absolutely.
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