Celtics Governor, managing partner, and CEO Wyc Grousbeck joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Felger & Mazz Wednesday to discuss the team’s recent struggles. During the 23-minute discussion, Grousbeck touched on what he believes is wrong with the team right now, how they got to this point, and what moves they can make to get back in contention.
In case you missed any of that interview, here are the comments that stood out:
"I've done a little complaining and in private and I feel a little frustrated. We're not contenders. Just to jump to probably your next question, 'Wyc, you're going to say that these guys are contenders.' You can't say you're a contender if you're below .500 a third of the way into the season. And so we're not. I hope the second third, or whatever, is better than the first, third. We've got some work to do."
"It seems to me like it's been uneven. I think we've got things we can point to that I just consider not point to. But I think it's been uneven. I think some games or some moments during games, we look, amazing, and that's a strong word. But I mean, there are good periods of time when you can see a lot of potential in this team. But then there are periods of time where you lose a 24 point lead and lose the game. And I feel a personal sense of wishing it was going better and thinking that it's not going the way I want it to."
"I think we've got our coach coaching a lot of young guys. I think our two key guys - I think Jayson's birthday is [next week] - so they're 23 and 24. And I think over the next five if not 10 years, those guys are going to be hopefully on a championship team, hopefully sooner than that.
"But then the next - Robert Williams is coming along. And Kemba is older than those two guys, those three guys, obviously, but has the talent to be on a championship team. And I think we've got a lot of guys - and then we've got two rookies playing big minutes for us with [Aaron] Nesmith and [Payton] Pritchard, who are fun to watch and they're developing before our eyes, but they're 19 - Pritchard is in his early 20's. We've got a young team. And so when you coach a young team, as Doc Rivers found out, when you coach a young team, it's a pain in the neck half the time and you get gray hair and you have to hope it gets better. But I think we've got a roster that isn't a contending roster right now, but it has the makings of something good, I hope. And starting at the top of the roster with the best players, they're keepers, and we're going to keep them."
"I would say that we look tired or emotionally drained or whatever...[Marcus] Smart isn't there. And so we have not had the kind of Kevin Garnett, go rip everybody's throat out, intensity. So I don't feel like that selfishness. I feel like that's being exhausted or unable to or not bringing the consistent, rabid energy that is required to win consistently in the NBA."
"Well, I think if we had KG in his prime, we'd be a better team. That's an obvious comment, but it's a true comment. I've made that comment in in private life to a million other people. You know, if KG were here back in the day - we do need that. Marcus [Smart] brings some of that Jayson [Tatum], Jalylen [Brown], when they're at their best bring some of that. Kemba [Walker] brings some of that in a different style - he'll cut your throat while he smiles at you. So we've got guys who do that on the team, but we just need to take this to another level as the season progresses. I really hope and I know the guys feel this way. Brad feels this way, Danny feels this way. They want to do better than this. Nobody is accepting this as the way it has to be."
"I am happy with Brad. I talk to Danny and Brad all the time. I feel very connected to those guys. And I look at just the facts of it. I look at - you took in two 19-year-olds, Jaylen Brown first and then Jayson Tatum. There was questions about drafting both of them, questions about what they could be and they're both deserved All-Stars right now. So yet again, every time I'm asked about Brad, I mentioned that guys have career years with Brad and the development of those two 19-year-olds is first and foremost to their own credit. But secondly, it's to Brad's credit."
"I'm ready to hopefully get back to where we want to be, but we're not there yet. And I am frustrated and I'm trying to express it very straightforwardly and honestly today. But I also think that the wrong answer for me to do and to pursue is to say, 'well, the heck with this,' because we've got a lot here. And I've been here 18 years. We've all watched this our whole lives...We've all watched the Celtics, Bruins, Red Sox, Patriots our whole lives, and when you get there, it's very, very special. It's hard to do. We're not there. It's frustrating. But we've got the makings of something good here and we're going to keep building on it the best we can."
"I'm the one that has to make the decision, I'm the one that has to live with the change, and say 'oh my god, I let somebody go.' And then immediately either one of those guys would be immediately the top campaign in the league for the job. It doesn't matter just about who else is out there. So they're our guys and we're sticking with them. And it was not even a question in my mind."
"I'm not sure I would have a major complaint about selfishness, about anybody that I can think of. Jayson and Jaylen made the All-Star team. I don't view them as selfish players. I've watched every second of every game this year and a lot of the games twice. And I see those guys passing the ball to each other, to everybody else, I don't see them saying I need to make a basket here to improve my stats. It's not the way I see it. That's not my gut assessment of those guys.
"I think Jalyen has brought his game to a new level this year. I think Jayson was at a similar level the last year, and has had a really good year. I think Jaylen has taken another step forward. And I think a lot of that is rebounding. A lot of it is passing and playmaking. A lot of it is getting to the hoop and taking the hit and trying to make the free throws. I mean, he's just doing things with a lot of energy and intensity and he's an intense player and he really wants to win. So anyway, I'm a fan of Jayson that Jaylen and the way they're playing, and I don't view them as selfish, my personal opinion."
"The ink is still wet on their contracts. They both just signed max, gigantic long term extensions. Jaylen one year before Jayson. But Jayson just signed like, literally a few months ago, a max extension. And Jaylen signed a huge extension a year ago. So we'll we'll worry about them being unhappy if it ever happens four years from now."
"We're a consistent tax payer and a consistent would-be, in our own minds, contender. That's the way we want to run the team and we want to get back to that status as soon as we can."
"Money doesn't drive our show around here. It's trying to win. But we have to also run - we are under a cap situation and we are hard capped at the moment, like literally can't afford more than 'X' amount. Which is why that TPE is probably going to be more useful - maybe we can use part of it within the hard cap at the trade deadline and if it's available to us and we want to do it, we'll do it if the right deal is there - but otherwise it's something we'll probably look more to the offseason for."
"We had hoped Kyrie would stay forever and lead us all the way. He's on maybe the best team in the league right now. And so that's that. And that change touched off a lot of stuff because he left, we weren't able to maybe recruit free agents from the same way. And, you know, a bit of a domino effect, but it is what it is. We went went for it with Kyrie. We had a good year with him. He tried hard and then he moved on."
"I don't view that deal as a mistake. I'll view other ones as a mistake, like Kendrick Perkins. Wish we hadn't done that, as I've said before...but I think going for Kyrie and then having a really good year with Kyrie and getting to the Conference Finals despite his injury was a pretty magical year. And I think that was a reasonable deal to do."
"We are not trying to do that [tank]. That's not us. And it doesn't fit with us. We're losing games while we're trying to win. But anyway, we haven't discussed it and it's not part of the DNA. And I would like to win the next 15 games in a row and tell everybody to save the emails and face the calls to you [Felger & Mazz]."
You can check out the full Felger & Mazz interview with Wyc Grousbeck below:
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.