We are back to the "quiet" days of summer so I thought I'd re-start my High Five with CelticsBlog series of interviews. Who better to get answers from than the man writing the checks? Here's my Q&A with Celtics Owner Wyc Grousbeck.
1. Roughly 18 months ago you uttered the phrase "there could be some fireworks" and the fanbase has never let you forget it. At the same time, you've been (wisely) preaching patience all along. So what message would you like to send to those that are getting a little antsy waiting for pyrotechnics?
I like setting goals for the organization publicly and then making sure we all try to live up to them. If you don't set aggressive goals, you won't get anywhere. With the future draft picks, and cap space, that we have, I think it is reasonable to hope for transforming the team as quickly as possible. We have tried hard to do that over the past several years. Right now it feels like we are improving year over year, with our young coach and group of talented players. I like where we are and feel like we are progressing.
2. From the outside looking in, it appears that Plan A is to combine trade assets to upgrade the roster (trading quantity for quality). But it takes two teams to trade and for a variety of reasons that plan may not work out. So what are Plans B, C, D, etc.?
Without naming any Plan A, B or C, I will just say we have our heads down focused on developing the talent of our roster. The better we play, the more attractive we will be for potential free agents in the future. We really think we have improved on paper with our moves this summer and feel excited about seeing this team take the floor this season.
3. The fast rising salary cap seems to have changed the landscape of the NBA. How are the Celtics adapting and planning ahead for the changes coming up?
We realize that many teams will have cap space going forward, which means that we need to position ourselves really well to compete for free agents. What we like about how we finished last season, and how we look going into this season (knock on wood), is that we have a reputation for being a well-coached, unselfish, high energy team, playing the "right way", and playing in front of the best fans in the league. We want free agents and players around the league to know the Celtics are dead serious about contending as soon as possible for Banner 18.
4. I've seen nothing but glowing praise about Brad Stevens thus far and last year the results seemed to catch up with his reputation down the stretch. Is there a particular type of player that fits Brad and his system? Or does Brad have to be flexible enough to win with any type of roster?
My sense of Brad is that he could coach any kind of player, and the playing style of the "new NBA" seems to fit his eye very well. I liked how our team played the latter half of last year - energetically, unselfishly, emphasizing defense and ball movement. But bottom line, Brad and Danny should be the ones to specify what kinds of players they want to target going forward.
5. Paul Pierce has made no secret of his desire to transition into a front office position after his playing days are over. Is there a chance that he could end up on Danny Ainge's staff next year?
Paul is under contract with the Clippers and I can't have any comment on him other than to say he knows how we all feel about him, for his accomplishments on and off the court. I remember re-connecting with him and KG when they returned in January 2014 after the trade to the Nets. Giving them their much deserved video tributes was one of my favorite, although most bittersweet, moments as part of the Celtics.
Bonus question: Is there any other message you'd like to deliver to the fans?
All of us at the team are deeply thankful for all of your support, through good times and not-so-good times. This is about everybody in the past who made the Celtics what they are - and about all of us today making sure we do our best to carry on the legacy. We have great fan support already lined up for next year in terms of ticket sales, and we will do our best to put an exciting team on the floor that you will be proud to watch. And I'd like to post these links to the tribute videos, because I think the videos say it all:
Thanks Wyc, appreciate your time.