Wyc Grousbeck made his first public remarks on Wednesday afternoon in the aftermath of an ugly Celtics exit from the postseason on the Felger and Mazz program on 98.5 the Sports Hub. It was the first public comments from a member of the Celtics brass since the C's dropped Game 5 in Milwaukee last week. The 20-minute phone interview featured a heavy dose of reflection of the season and questions about what is coming next. Grousbeck kept his cards fairly close to the vest (understandably so) for the entire exchange but there were a few noteworthy remarks worth pointing out:
On whether this year's Celtics were a challenge for Brad Stevens: "It was one of the hardest teams to love, from my standpoint, just to answer for myself. I wasn't coaching them but I was watching them. It was frustrating. It was a tough year for everybody concerned. I think the fans all feel that. We're going to try to make it better. We all feel that. The highs and lows -- it just has been frustrating."
His reaction to the end of the season: “We’re all annoyed and upset and disappointed. I feel like there was a mismatch between the talent that we had on paper and the way that it was expressed on the court. The actual and the potential, there was a gap.”
How does the team evaluate what went wrong and what comes next? “Start by looking in the mirror and saying what could I have done better. Did we, meaning those of us responsible for putting the team together, led by Brad and Danny, but signed-off on by me, so also responsibility here, did we construct it correctly, did we course correct it? No we didn’t, we went right through the trading deadline. What did we decide?
On chemistry issues: “It’s not like we said ‘to hell with chemistry, we know this is a mess, but we’re going to try to get out of it with talent.’" he said. "We didn’t know it was a mess. It turned out to be, at times, really good and, at times, a bit of a mess.”
We’re really just going to go through the roster, the 15 guys, and say who’s here, should we move some of the guys, should we re-sign these people, what are we going to do. It’s really like a new movie, with a new script, and in some cases a new cast. And hopefully a new ending.”
On offseason decisions looming: "We’ve got some layups, and we’ve got some 3-point shots and we’ve got a half-court shot or two to try to hit. There’s some easy decisions and there’s some harder decisions and we’re actually going to have to take the time to decide in a sense what the roster looks like.”
On the future of Kyrie Irving in free agency: "I'm not going to comment on ... I'm really not going to talk about specific guys except in real generalities. Kyrie's given us two years of strong effort. He's going to decide what he's going to do down the road. He hasn't commented publicly, so I'm going to respect that."
On if the team wants Irving back: "I'm just not going to comment about anybody on the roster on that. We've got 15 guys, and we're going to evaluate all of them, and I'm not going to comment on one person and then not comment on another, because it's going to send a negative or positive signal. Just don't want to do it."
On Kyrie free agency rumors: “A lot of the stuff that’s out on the internet, about almost anything, often times comes if you trace it down when you can, it comes from agents, and it doesn’t necessarily come from the agent of a player that is referenced, so there’s reasons, there’s agendas, it’s someone saying someone’s going somewhere, it might actually benefit this guy’s player who is trying to get a job somewhere else.”
Grousbeck is one of the more candid owners in town during his public appearances but he showed off a more guarded front in this exchange with Felger and Mazz, which comes with little surprise given how much uncertainty there is in the air surrounding the C's offseason. A few notable takeaways from his comments.
1. Danny Ainge seems to be doing better healthwise: While Grousbeck refused to speculate about the future of Ainge or his health situation,