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Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck on OM&F: ‘I’d make the Al Horford deal again in one second today’ 04.12.17 at 12:06 pm ET
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Al Horford

Al Horford

Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck joined OM&F on Wednesday (see complete recap here) and was asked about the differing opinions over Al Horford’s impact this season.

Horford isn’t posting superstar numbers (14 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5 assists), but with the Celtics sitting on 52 wins with a chance to lock down the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference on Wednesday night against the Bucks, his contributions have been debated.

Put Grousbeck squarely in the camp of “no regrets” over signing the center to a four-year, $113 million contract last summer.

“I’m very happy with the signing and we have to be responsible for the contract,” Grousbeck said. “I’d love to see him step up and lead us all the way. Adding him last year put us better in the mix for another major free agent last year, obviously, puts us in the mix for a free agent this summer if we want to go that route, makes us a destination. I’d make the Al Horford deal again in one second today.”

So what do fans and media miss on nights when Horford doesn’t score a ton?

“I think when you go to the next level of analytics with Al, you see that Isaiah [Thomas] shoots noticeably better when he’s on the court,” Grousbeck said. “A lot of Isaiah’s points come from Al’s assists and Al’s screens. He’s one of the two leading big men in the league in assists at five a game, which is pretty high for a starting center. His screens are effective. He clears room for Isaiah to drive to the hoop, he sees him effectively along the perimeter. Isaiah and Al are linked. Isaiah shoots 55 percent when Al’s on the floor and 50 percent when he’s not. That’s a big difference when you take as many shots as Isaiah takes. That’s a meaningful difference in a game.”

Grousbeck suspects we’ll see a more assertive Horford in the postseason.

“I think playoffs will logically be his time,” he said. “When everything tightens up, you need that big man passing and setting screens and then bringing his offense. His balance is one of the reasons we are where we are.”

Read More: Al Horford, Celtics, Isaiah Thomas, NBA playoffs
Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck on OM&F: ‘I don’t think we’re as good as Cleveland,’ stays away from LaVar Ball at 11:55 am ET
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Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck joined OM&F on Wednesday (audio above), hours before his club had a chance to lock down the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference vs. the Bucks, and was very frank about its chances of beating the Cavaliers in the playoffs.

“I don’t think we’re as good as Cleveland,” Grousbeck said. “If we got a chance to play them in the postseason, I’d love to see it, but I’m not sure how it would turn out.”

Grousbeck wasn’t just basing that thought on last week’s disappointing performance against the Cavs in a blowout loss with the top seed on the line, though that game didn’t help.

“I actually hope the guys don’t forget that,” he said. “I hope the guys don’t forget how badly we were beaten last week and they can use it as fire going forward.”

He disputed the notion that the Celtics saw the Cavs clicking on all cylinders.

“That was Cleveland clicking on one cylinder, if you ask me,” he said. “I don’t want to disrespect them, but I saw LeBron [James] take that game over single-handedly. He had a lot of help, etc. . . . I’m not disrespecting Kyrie [Irving] or Kevin Love or anyone else on the team, but LeBron took that over for a period of about six possessions there on the offensive and defensive end of the court. He dominated us. I have to give him a ton of credit. It showed us that we’ve got a ways to go.”

Grousbeck touched on a number of other subjects as well, though one he stayed away from was if the potential of dealing with headache stage dad LaVar Ball would dissuade him from drafting UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball.

“That’s a question best left for you guys to comment on,” he said. “I understand the question, but I can’t answer it.”

Grousbeck also discussed:

— Building through the draft vs. trade.

“There’s also a third option, which is to add a young player and still make cap room for a max free agent,” he said. “That’s the way we worked it last year, and that’s the way we may be able to work it this summer. But we’ve got max cap room if we want it.”

— On if Isaiah Thomas is a franchise player.

“He’s playing at that level,” he said. “When you look at where he ranks among all-time Celtics statistics and players, he’s actually on those leaderboards right now, which is pretty incredible. We wouldn’t be anywhere near where we are without Isaiah right now. He was thought of maybe as a sixth man coming in. . . . He’s opened everybody’s eyes.”

— On plans to honor the 2008 champions next season and reports that Ray Allen wasn’t invited to a player’s only gathering organized by Rajon Rondo.

“Ray’s always going to be a champion here and we wouldn’t have won it without him,” he said.

— On complaints about teams resting star players.

“We talked about it specifically at our owner’s meeting in New York last week,” he said. “The general approach I took is the problem was there were some marquee games, marquee matchups, and our television partners and our fans were all disappointed that all of a sudden these guys were all sitting out en masse. It was made very clear that we don’t want that to happen again.

“The first way we’re fixing it is in partnership with the players next year, we’re adding a week to the season next year and shortening the preseason so there’ll be fewer back-to-backs. The players that were rested in the games we’re talking about were in back-to-back matchups. It’s hard to play guys back-to-back when you’re getting close to playoff time.”

 

Read More: Cavaliers, Celtics, Lavar Ball, Lonzo Ball
Celtics owners Wyc Grousbeck, Steve Pagliuca on D&C: Kevin Durant ‘would have been a great fit here’ 08.30.16 at 11:32 am ET
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Celtics owners Wyc Grousbeck and Steve Pagliuca joined Dennis & Callahan with Minihane during the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon on Tuesday and discussed the team’s attempt to lure Kevin Durant to Boston. To hear the interview, visit the D&C audio on demand page.

The Celtics were one of the finalists to land the 2014 MVP, and several players and front office members met with Durant in early July. Durant ultimately chose to join the Warriors, but Pagliuca said he believes his team was very close to grabbing him. 

“We put on a great presentation,” Pagliuca said. “The players did a fantastic job and Tom Brady helped us, I think we were very compelling. … We always hope for the best, and we prepare for otherwise, but I thought we had a really good shot at him.”

The Celtics got an assist at the meeting from Brady, form whom Durant has plenty of respect.

“He made a very compelling case how it’s so special to be able to play in Boston, the No. 1 sports town in America,” Pagliuca said. “Winning a championship in Boston is like nothing else, he made a very compelling presentation that I think really impressed Durant.”

Added Pagliuca: “Those are always very personal decisions by a player, so we really can’t get into their heads. But he would have been a great fit here for sure, and we were excited to have him up here. He’s a class act, I just got back from the Rio Olympics and he carried himself extremely well down there and won games with the team. We look forward to competing against him, he’s very close with Avery Bradley and I think we’re going to bother him defensively. We were one of the only teams to beat both Golden State and Cleveland on their own court last year. We were excited to play them.”

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Read More: Kevin Durant, Steve Pagliuca, Tom Brady, Wyc Grousbeck
Danny Ainge says he, not Wyc Grousbeck, should’ve taken fall for not pulling off trade 06.25.16 at 9:16 am ET
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Sep 25, 2015; Waltham, MA, USA; Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge (left) and co-owner Wyc Grousbeck, during media day at the Boston Celtic Practice Facility. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Celtics GM Danny Ainge (left) and co-owner Wyc Grousbeck hope to build a title contender for next season. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

WALTHAM – Danny Ainge and Wyc Grousbeck had very different takes on what happened Thursday. 

Grousbeck, as the team’s principal owner, addressed the angry and disgruntled fan base after the Celtics drafted Jaylen Brown. He then told the fans and the media that the team was never close to pulling off a trade that many had hung their hopes. 

The owner then acknowledged that Ainge, the president of basketball operations, would be in a much better position to explain why the team did what it did. 

Ainge didn’t come out because he was getting ready for two more first-round picks. He chose Guerschon Yabusele at 16 and Ante Zizic at 23, two players that could wind up overseas next season. But Ainge said after the draft that there were many discussions about trading the third pick, just nothing that the Celtics could accept. 

On Friday, Ainge made two things clear: He felt bad for Grousbeck having to take the heat for the lack of trade and don’t take out the frustration on Jaylen Brown. 

“The only thing I felt bad about that is that Wyc went out there,” Ainge said. “If I would have known that or if I wasn’t in the middle of something, I should have been the one that went out there and I would have been happy to and I would have enjoyed it. It’s what I love about Boston. When you’re throwing a no-hitter they appreciate it. And when you get rocked in the second inning, they boo you.

“The only thing about that is I love the passion of Boston fans, I love that they feel and they care. I truly believe that. I never take that stuff personal because there’s so many differing views. I think that that’s what makes Boston fun. The only thing that I don’t like about that is that it’s a reflection of Jaylen.

“Instead of a reflection of me — like, ‘We don’t like YOUR choice.’ That’s like OK to boo me. But give him a chance, would be the only thing I would say. Like, let’s see. Let’s wait a year then boo me. Let’s not boo the kid when his name is announced. As far as criticism in my position, I expect it, I’m used to it, and I don’t think you guys can offend me. You can try, but I don’t think it’ll work.

“I think everyone wants a deal. I think everyone expects a deal. We’ve been working really hard on trying to get a deal and do something significant. But we just haven’t been able to do it yet. And it’s not because we’re not trying, it’s not because we’re turning down or we overvalue our players or any of that stuff. It’s because you need a partner. I’ve said this many times before: I tried three years to get KG before we got him. It just takes the right time and the right place and have a partner that wants to do a deal.”

Ainge knows what the expectations are for the Celtics heading into next season. He realizes the fan base has seen a young team with a bright coach go from 25 t0 40 to 48 wins. Now, what’s next?

“Maybe the public expects more — no, I think that’s pretty obvious,” Ainge said. “But not more than what we feel. I want to do a deal. But it’s my job to oversee the Celtics and not do what makes me look really good and do something that’s instant gratification. It’s like we’re trying to build something. It’s a big responsibility and I take it very seriously. We’re going to keep trying to do bigger deals that will people cheer instead of boo.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Wyc Grousbeck,
Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck on trade talks: ‘Nothing even came close’ 06.23.16 at 8:41 pm ET
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Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck, fresh off a surprise booing from Celtics fans disappointed in the selection of Jaylen Brown with the third overall pick, said the C’s never came close to trading the pick for a veteran.

“Adding a veteran was certainly a consideration as we went into this draft day,” Grousbeck said. “Adding a veteran for the third pick was a consideration. We were willing to have those discussions, just nothing even came close. If it had come close and we hadn’t quite gotten there, I’d tell you that. It just wasn’t even close. It’s actually an easy day when nothing’s close. I don’t look for easy days — you try to make the right decisions — but this was an easy day.”

According to reports, the Celtics engaged in trade talks with the Sixers (Nerlens Noel), Bulls (Jimmy Butler), and Bucks (Khris Middleton), but according to Grousbeck, those talks never progressed.

That led to the selection of Brown. Grousbeck joked that as a Stanford grad, he’ll have to accept that Brown played for a year at Cal. He also said he was extremely impressed with Brown’s workout.

“Jaylen, since the day he walked in for his very impressive workout — impressive even to me, as more of a fan — he was very high on the list,” Grousbeck said. “He was going to be a finalist for this draft pick since the day he walked in and worked out.”

That said, fans still reacted with hostility, showering Grousbeck with boos over the selection.

“Fourteen years, that’s probably the worst one I’ve gotten, but I’ll view this as people really care,” Grousbeck said. “I’ll view it as I’ve certainly had some of those reactions when I’ve been at sporting events. You pay your money, you get to come in. Look, we’re a bunch of fans who bought this team. Being a fan means you’re emotional and emotionally invested in the team and no problem. But I actually believe if those fans knew what I knew and were in that room, most of them might have done the same thing. But no problem. Bring it on. They’re Celtics fans, and they’ve earned the right to say whatever they want.”

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, Celtics draft, Celtics rumors, Celtics trade rumors
Wyc Grousbeck extends Danny Ainge, Brad Stevens: ‘[They] represent exactly what the Boston Celtics stand for’ 06.01.16 at 11:40 am ET
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Sep 25, 2015; Waltham, MA, USA; Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge (left) and co-owner Wyc Grousbeck, during media day at the Boston Celtic Practice Facility. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Celtics GM Danny Ainge (left) and co-owner Wyc Grousbeck have lots to smile about in the future. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

The Celtics have made their first big move of the offseason. 

No, they haven’t added or subtracted players yet. Owners Wyc Grousbeck and Stephen Pagliuca just recommitted themselves to the people who will be making those decisions. 

The team announced Wednesday that they have extended the contracts of President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge and Head Coach Brad Stevens. Terms of the deals, including the length of the extensions, were not disclosed.

“Danny and Brad represent exactly what the Boston Celtics stand for: excellence on and off the court,” Grousbeck said in a statement. “With their long-term deals in place, we are continuing to build towards competing for Banner 18. Our ownership group thanks them for their hard work and their re-commitment to the Celtics.”

 Ainge, who just completed his 13th season as Celtics President of Basketball Operations, has compiled a record of 565-484 (.539) during his tenure, making 10 trips to the post-season, three Conference Finals appearances and two trips to the NBA Finals, including winning the NBA Championship in 2008. That season, fellow NBA executives voted Ainge the Executive of the Year for the 2007-08 season.

 “I am grateful to continue to work in an environment where I’m surrounded by so many people that are an integral part of our success,” Ainge said in the team release. “We have had great stability in this organization since the ownership group bought the Celtics. We know our strengths and weaknesses and as a group we work well together. Wyc, Irv, Steve, Rich, Brad and I have a common goal in pursuing Banner 18 and I’m looking forward to this next chapter in Boston Celtics history.”

As for Stevens, he completed his third season as the team’s head coach, guiding the team to a 48-34 record and clinching the team’s second consecutive playoff berth. Stevens is a two-time NBA Eastern Conference Coach of the Month winner, most recently for games played in February 2016, where he led the Celtics to the best record in the Eastern Conference (9-3) and a 6-0 mark at the TD Garden.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, Danny Ainge, Stephen Pagliuca
Wyc Grousbeck on MFB: Celtics not just ‘glad to be here’ 04.22.15 at 12:51 pm ET
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Celtics co-owner and CEO Wyc Grousbeck joined Middays with MFB on Wednesday afternoon to give his thoughts on the state of his team in the playoffs as well as hit on some current events regarding former C’s. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

After the beginning of the season that the Celtics had, it’s not a stretch to say that people had a hard time imagining them in the playoffs come April. A hot second half propelled Boston to where it is now, heading back to TD Garden for game three of its opening round series against the Cavaliers. While Cleveland might not have been the most favorable matchup for the Celtics, Grousbeck is just happy the team is where it is.

“It was a lot of fun last night [Tuesday],” he said. “I’m very very proud of our team, and I saw the Cavs winning the game, they’ve beaten us twice, it wasn’t super close at the end of either game, but we gave them a scare last night. We played them super hard as a team, missed some shots we could have made, I suppose we deserved to lose. The Cavs are a great team, but I was really proud of how we played last night.”

Losing by 13 points in game one and then by eight on Tuesday night for game two, the C’s are in a bit of a hole going into Thursday. Despite the hole, though, Grousbeck is optimistic of his squad’s chances.

“We’re going be on home turf, we played these guys pretty tough for two games,” he said. “I like the fact that we are going to play hard, we’re going to play as a team, we’re very, very well-coached, we’re playing a team that’s definitely got more talent and has got the edge on us in the series and are contenders for the championship, the Cavs, but I really cannot wait for tomorrow night to kick off. I think it’s going to be a memorable night. I don’t know what will happen, but I know we’ll play hard and we’re going to give them a game.”

And while Grousbeck acknowledged that Cleveland does have the edge over Boston, he expects the Celtics to give their opponents a fight.

“This isn’t a ‘glad to be here, grab a couple appetizers and leave the party early,'” he said. “We’d like to tie this thing up.”

Grousbeck also noted that no one has deluded themselves into thinking that the Celtics have the elite level of talent that some other teams do, but they do possess other qualities that give them a fighting chance.

“We’ve got the heart, we’ve got the teamwork, we’ve got the coaching, we’ve got some great talent, really good players,” he said.

“We are not there yet,” Grousbeck added. “We’re not fooling anybody by saying we’re there, and we’re going to continually try and improve, but I also just love watching these guys step up their games … I love how our guys have stepped up their games and I love the possibilities we have in the future to even get better.”

Regardless of the outcome of the series, Grousbeck knows that making the playoffs and getting to this point is what helps draw people to Boston.

“I love being in the playoffs,” he said. “This is how you build a team, you make it a place that people want to come play.”

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