Wyc Grousbeck

Atlantic Notes: Grousbeck, Leonard, Durant, Workouts

The feeling that the Celtics were done in by selfishness goes all the way to the top of the organization, writes Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald. Co-owner Wyc Grousbeck admits to being “frustrated and disappointed” with this season, which began with Boston as a heavy favorite to reach the NBA Finals and ended with a loss in the conference semifinals.

“We had free agents who wanted minutes, and players who wanted to be All-Stars,” Grousbeck said. “I don’t know. There was a lot of ‘I want this, I want that,’ I guess. I’m not in the huddles or the locker room on a daily basis, but it’s frustrating.”

The most prominent name among those free agents is Kyrie Irving, who is rumored to be headed to Brooklyn when free agency kicks off at the end of the month. Grousbeck said management has discussed some “exotic scenarios” if the Celtics lose Irving and can’t trade for Anthony Davis. He adds that he hasn’t directly asked Irving to remain in Boston.

“I haven’t talked to Kyrie in those terms,” Grousbeck said. “Our two free agent negotiators are (coach) Brad (Stevens) and president of basketball operations Danny (Ainge). But Kyrie knows how we feel about him, that we feel very positive about him, and the discussions will go on over the next few weeks.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • No one should regret not making a strong play for Kawhi Leonard last summer more than the Celtics, argues Zach Lowe of ESPN. Boston had plenty of assets to offer when the Spurs put Leonard on the market, but wasn’t willing to part with Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown unless there were more assurances about Leonard’s health and willingness to re-sign with the organization. Lowe notes that the Celtics thought they already had a championship team in place and that adding another maximum-salary player to go with Irving, Gordon Hayward and Al Horford wouldn’t have been sustainable for long.
  • A max deal for Kevin Durant would be too risky unless another star is joining him on the Knicks, contends Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. The concerns lie beyond just missing all of next season, Bondy adds. With load management likely in effect, it’s hard to see how Durant plays more than 65 games in 2020/21 or beyond. He will be 32 when he returns and could plunge New York into a repeat of Kristaps Porzingis situation.
  • Miami center Dewan Hernandez is working out for the Knicks today, tweets Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. Shaw guard Amir Hinton had a session for New York.
  • The Sixers are hosting six players for a workout today, tweets Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. On the schedule are Kyle Alexander (Tennessee), Daulton Holmes (Point Loma Nazarene), Mahir Johnson (Goldey-Beacom), Nick Mayo (Eastern Kentucky), Jordan Poole (Michigan) and Isaiah Roby (Nebraska).

Celtics Notes: Tatum, Irving, Grousbeck, Baynes, Horford

Former Celtic Paul Pierce believes Jayson Tatum would reach his All-Star potential if he drove to the basket more often, as he told Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald.

“For a guy with his athleticism, his skill set and his ball-handling, his height, he should be a guy that gets to the line at least six times a night and makes five out of six,” Pierce said. “That’ll take him from a 16-point scorer to a 20-point scorer, and he’ll be in the conversation for All-Star every year on a winning team.”

Pierce also believes Tatum won’t fully blossom until he’s relied upon as a primary scorer.

“Look at James Harden,” he said. “We didn’t know James Harden was going to be this until he went to Houston. He was the sixth man on OKC. Now he’s a perennial MVP and arguably the best player in the league.”

We have more on the Celtics:

  • Kyrie Irving’s decision in free agency could be decided by how the postseason plays out, Bulpett speculates in the same article. While events during the season have seemingly tilted the odds in favor of Irving signing elsewhere, that could change if the team makes a deep run, Bulpett adds.
  • Danny Ainge attributed a seemingly critical comment by Irving against the coaching staff as frustration after a loss. Charlotte’s Kemba Walker scored 36 points against Boston in a recent loss and Irving said they should have trapped Walker more often. Ainge’s response came on a radio interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich” and was relayed by Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston“I did hear (Irving’s comments). It’s not that uncommon,” the GM said. “Guys get frustrated, and maybe that was the first thing that came to his mind is, ‘We should have done something different with Kemba.'”
  • Owner Wyc Grousbeck believes the team can flip the switch during the postseason, he told Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe. Grousbeck admits the team has underachieved but still believes better days are ahead. “We have not played at an elite level this year,” Grousbeck said. “We have to admit that at the moment. We’re in fifth place in the East. It’d be great to take that step now, or we’ll try to take it next year if we have to. But what I’m seeing, with the playoffs around the corner, I’m going to go into the playoffs with good energy and optimism and seeing what happens.”
  • Pairing Al Horford and Aron Baynes can give the Celtics more toughness inside but it would only work against certain lineups, as coach Brad Stevens explains to NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg“With their size and length, I think we have a different impact at the rim. But when you’re playing a team that’s super small and spread out, that’s tough to guard when you have a more traditional lineup.”

Celtics Notes: Grousbeck, Brown, Ainge, Baynes

The Celtics will be vulnerable in the first round of the playoffs, co-owner Wyc Grousbeck admitted yesterday, according to Nicole Yang of The Boston Globe. Speaking at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, Grousbeck said the team is coming off the “worst February” in memory since he assumed control of the team in 2002.

Boston posted a 5-6 record and ended the month with four straight losses. There have also been comments from players that the team lacked unity, along with rumors that Kyrie Irving may be reconsidering the verbal commitment he made to re-sign with the Celtics this summer.

“We also have the capability of losing in the first round,” Grousbeck said. “We have a very, very good set of opponents in the East, all of whom have beaten us in the last month.”

There’s more this morning out of Boston:

  • At the end of Friday’s shootaround, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge could be seen talking to Jaylen Brown, relays A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Brown, who has struggled to adjust to a reserve role after being the team’s second-leading scorer last season, described Ainge’s comments as encouraging. “Some GMs might not say anything to you,” Brown said. “So I appreciate him. I try to listen to everybody, hear from everybody and their perspective… So, Danny’s definitely one of the people in my ear that I’m tuned in to, just because of his position and what he’s been through.”
  • Hall of Famer Kevin McHale warned back in November that the Celtics’ depth might turn out to be a problem because too many players would be expecting significant roles, notes Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. The return of Irving and Gordon Hayward, who both missed last year’s playoffs with injuries, meant that Brown, Terry Rozier and others who helped the team reach the Eastern Conference finals were asked to make adjustments. “I think they’re in a spot where they’re trying to keep a lot of players involved and a lot of players happy and catching a rhythm for a lot of players,” McHale said. “That’s always really hard. I’ve always believed that you need to make sure, as a coach, that your three or four top guys are in a great rhythm, and then after that you’re going to have to have guys that fill in and play. You can’t make everybody happy all the time.”
  • The Celtics may get a boost with the return of center Aron Baynes, who is listed as questionable for today’s game. A left foot contusion has kept him off the court since February 1.

Celtics’ Grousbeck Talks Roster, Draft Picks, Spending

Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck discussed a variety of topics with Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe this week, touching on subjects such as his team’s spending, draft picks, and the state of the roster.

With lofty expectations around the franchise and its talented roster entering the season, Boston has compiled just a 22-15 record through the campaign’s first 37 games. Asked whether the team could consider making roster changes as the February 7 trade deadline approaches, Grousbeck took an honest approach.

“What we’ll do over the next month is determine if there’s anything we can do in February [prior to the trade deadline] to advance the team to a new level,” Grousbeck said. “But when I look at the team right now, I feel really good about their character, really good about their skill, really good about the upside over the next 5-6 years, with young players and the draft.

“I feel overall confident and excited we can make some noise over the next 5-6 years with this core group, adding on when we can. But this season still does feel like a work in progress, and it feels like we’ve got a long way to go if we want to make some noise in May again, or even in June.”

The Celtics have several young players on their roster today, including the likes of Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown. The team also has veterans such as Kyrie Irving, Al Horford and Gordon Hayward to round out its roster, sporting a group of talent capable of competing in the Eastern Conference.

Here are some other noteworthy quotes from Grousbeck in the Globe’s story:

On going after a superstar player:

“Well, this team is stacked with a lot of talented players on reasonable contracts, and a ton of draft picks. So that’s why our phone is already ringing. Our history is that we try to make the big deal and have gone for it. We try to put banners in the rafters. There’s only one so far [from our ownership group]. We’d like to have another one up there, and that may require another move, or just continued growth with these guys. We’ll have to see.”

On his role in looking for possible trades:

“We’ll just leave that in the mystery category. But what happens with trades is that they’re proposed by the basketball side and I’m kept up to date all along as the phone calls develop and as we think about what assets we might include and what the team might look like after a trade. And so I approve them or disapprove them, or try to change them, and that’s gone on for 16 years.”

On being in luxury tax territory, this season and beyond:

“We have a 16-year record of spending and putting the best possible team out on the court and I’ll just leave it at that. Everybody can see what we’ve done, knows what we’ve done and knows that we’ve put the Celtics first in every aspect.”

On the team’s stash of draft picks:

“I’m excited about all the draft picks we have now and in future years. It’s one of the reasons I’m so excited about the next six years as opposed to the next six games. The next six games we might go 0-6, but the next six years I feel pretty good about. I know both February and June will be very active. Because we have all these draft picks and young players, we get a lot of calls. And so Danny [Ainge], Mike Zarren, Austin Ainge, they get a ton of calls and try to figure out if there’s anything to recommend to me to make the team better. My view of this draft right now is it’s going to be as many phone calls as we’ve ever had. I don’t worry much about what players we end up drafting, because that’s completely on the basketball side.”

Co-Owner Wyc Grousbeck Confident About Celtics’ Future

Celtics co-owner, managing partner, and CEO Wyc Grousbeck appeared today on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston before tonight’s Game 2 between the Celtics and Cavaliers to discuss a bevy of topics, as relayed by Adam Kaufman of WBZ-AM NewsRadio 1030 (click here for links).

Perhaps most interestingly, Grousbeck uncovered the fact that the Cavs were interested in obtaining/would have accepted Jayson Tatum instead of the Nets’ upcoming pick in the 2018 NBA Draft in last summer’s blockbuster trade that sent Kyrie Irving to the Celtics. Ultimately, the Celtics preferred to send the pick instead of their prized rookie, which sure appears to have been the right decision as we sit here today.

Faced with the upcoming free agency of Marcus Smart this summer and the potential free agency of Irving, Al Horford, and Terry Rozier next summer, Grousbeck was also asked to discuss the Celtics’ willingness to dip into the luxury tax if necessary. Per Kaufman, Grousbeck said the Celtics are prepared to “pay for performance” and “to do whatever it takes to win again.”

As for Irving’s knee injury that has kept him out of this year’s postseason, Grousbeck said that he has no long-term concerns about Irving’s knee, which parallels the report from about a month ago that Irving was already seen walking around without a noticeable limp just a little over a week after his surgery.

Given Irving’s positive prognosis, the relative youth of the Celtics’ roster and head coach, and the prowess the team has exhibited so far this postseason without Irving, Gordon Hayward, or Daniel Theis, it’s no surprise that Grousbeck feels very confident about his team’s future, even going as far as to say he’d be disappointed if the Celtics aren’t back in the same position they’re in now for the next five years.