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Wyc Grousbeck Speaks on Doc Rivers, Rebuilding Celtics and Rajon Rondo

After watching his top lieutenants speak to the media last night, Celtics majority owner Wyc Grousbeck spoke this morning on Boston sports radio WEEI (93.7 FM) in Boston. In another candid interview, Grousbeck made a number of remarks on Doc’s departure to the Clippers, expressing disappointment, while thanking Rivers for his service. Grousbeck also speaks to future moves in the coming days, the coaching search, as well as reports of a riff between Rajon Rondo and Rivers.

On his relationship with Doc: “I talked to Doc the other day. I said, ‘Look, we’re all square. You’ve given us your heart and soul for nine years; we’ve given you a lot of support. I feel great about it. And I took some of your money on the golf course, buddy. So, we’re all good.’

“But I don’t feel he owes us more. I don’t feel he owes us the next three years. I think he’s entitled to take a look at the next three years. And he left in a way and on terms that got us some benefit back. So, I don’t feel misused or that we’re not even. I think we’re even. I just would have been willing to go forward with Doc. And now that we’re not — actually, it’s energized Danny. He’s got a list of coaching candidates — which we’re not going to discuss today. But he’s got a list of guys. He’s got a new spring in his step. And it’s energized Danny to rebuild, which is what’s necessary.”

Added Grousbeck: “I think Doc and we are even. I think those nine years, if you had told me this is how the nine years were going to go when we signed him, I would have been thrilled. I’m very happy with how it went. And we’re even.”

On rebuilding the Celtics: “Building these things is why we’re here,” he said. “We’re not here just to enjoy the years when everything goes right. When you own a team, what you’re asking to do is have the right to build it and be proud of it when it goes well. So, we’ve got some building to do. And it’s going to start now. That doesn’t mean everybody’s gone. It means we’re looking at what we have and looking hard at it and figuring out who’s going to coach the team and who’s going to be playing for the team.

On report of a locker room conflict between Rondo and Doc: “There’s a lot of stuff that goes on in the locker room that’s not reported,” Grousbeck said. “Anything to do with Rondo and Doc is just one of many incidents that happened in the 10 years we’ve been here, all around the league.

“I am belittling it, I guess, but there it is. I’m belittling it. I don’t think that has much to do with this. I think Doc wanted to coach the Clippers roster and have a better chance near term of a ring. I don’t think he wanted to rebuild with us I think he wanted to make his win-loss record better. And that’s what it is with coaches. They’re talent. They’re not management. Coaches are talent. They’re basically players who have retired. And certainly in Doc’s case he’s a player, he retired as a player, he became a coach, and he’s very conscious of right here and now. Whereas Danny and we are looking to the future, and that’s our job.”

Be sure to check out the full interview over at Boston sports radio WEEI (93.7 FM).

  • Mark

    Well, this confirms my previous comment on the prior entry that the Celtics were blindsided by this and Doc played Danny and Wyc for fools in convincing them he was here through what was clearly going to be a rebuild a few years after he signed his contract.

    Heard on the Dan Patrick show today that Doc has a house in LA and he and his wife have been living there for some time. I always thought his wife lived in Orlando. If that is true Doc has been planning his exit from Boston the moment the Clippers traded for Paul.

    Really scummy Doc.

    • Vincent

      I don't see anything scummy about it. A coach reaches that level of success and respect and he can pursue a job he wants. If the C's didn't want to let him leave, Doc could have gone back into broadcasting and the C's would be out a coach and not have the benefit of a 1st round pick from the Clips.

      If Doc sucked, the C's could have fired him. If Doc doesn't want to coach the C's, he can retire. This is pro sports, let's be men about this and not crybabies and expect everyone to show 100% devotion to the franchise and not their own personal goals. Doc poured his heart and soul into the franchise for 9 yrs. I don't see any point in forcing him to coach a crummy rebuilding team for $7m/yr.

      • dslack

        Yup. Celtics got a future 1st round pick out of it. Many fans wanted Doc gone anyway, and this way he got to leave AND benefit the Celtics at the same time. Opposite of scummy.

  • hax

    Danny seemed so sad. Your work is cut out for you Danny, good luck making this team great again. :)

  • GymRat

    That Doc leaving has "energized" Ainge is pretty much the most telling thing about this post. For those that are still confused by the spin…rebuilding = trading PP and KG and perhaps even Rondo (as nobody is safe under DA). Of course Ainge is energized, now he can burn the house to the ground without resistance or power struggles (which is clear now that's exactly what was going on).

    This paragraph says it all:

    “We’re not here just to enjoy the years when everything goes right. When you own a team, what you’re asking to do is have the right to build it and be proud of it when it goes well. So, we’ve got some building to do. And it’s going to start now. That doesn’t mean everybody’s gone. It means we’re looking at what we have and looking hard at it and figuring out who’s going to coach the team and who’s going to be playing for the team."

    First he's taking a not-so-subtle shot at Doc after saying they are all good and even by insinuating that Doc was none of those things. Then he's affirming what we all know – that they are actively shopping PP and KG and even the silverware and china, because nobody has a clue who will be playing in green this season.

    Can you blame an elite coach like Doc for not wanting to sit back and watch his HOF'ers get traded and owners and management having no clue what kind of team they would be giving him going forward? That's not a competent rebuild – it's hitting the panic button out of fear that the post-Bird years could happen again if you don't.

    Is he really supposed to show loyalty to an organization that is dumping the heart and soul of the franchise for over a decade because he had a bad playoff series and is showing some age? Because things aren't going "well" and Wyc reserves the right to "rebuild" so he can be "proud".

    Sorry, but I'm actually disgusted by this response since what he doesn't say even once is that they have any loyalty to Pierce for an entire career of service, or to KG for helping bring them a title and playing the last years of his prime at a discount.

    I'm not saying Doc isn't partially to blame as he cleary was using his power (and possibly KG's) to ensure he benefitted when he left and there are two sides to every story. But this is just another post that shows from the top down – this team has no loyalty and Celtic pride means shit anymore. They only care about wins, and Pierce's career of service is about to be rewarded by being shipped to the highest bidder.

    Sorry but as a fan if I only cared about wins, why wait for a team to rebuild, why not join the bandwagon fans and leap from hot team to hot team.

    I don't love the Celtics because they always win (in my time they've mostly always lost). I loved them because of the heart and the passion and the loyalty that was so rare in sports and because when Bird was old and injured…they let him retire in green and claimed him as their own.

    This is really a sad, sad time for this franchise.

    • Danny

      + 10000000, thank you gym rat. You cant hear it but im clapping.

      • jman

        Excellent post gym rat, couldn't say it any better. It's not always about wins. One bad season and we shit can the whole lot. Very sad time indeed with this team.

        • Morpheus

          I am your biggest fan GymRat.

          One poor season with no Rondo, no Sully, and Barbosa, we would have made some serious noise in the playoffs. And if Danny could have gotten some decent frontcourt help…i honestly believe that Doc didn't play Wilcox, Shav, DJW minutes because he was sticking it to Danny.

    • Vincent

      Danny's job is to field a team that can win a title. That ain't happening ever again with PP or KG — at least surrounded by Rondo, Bass, Green, Lee, and Terry. Coaches are judged on wins and losses, GMs are judged on collecting talent, not in nostalgia.

      • GymRat

        By those standards, and by all accounts, they are both doing a terrible job.

        Nostalgia sells tickets, Vincent. This is a business. It's not based on wins. It's based on selling tickets and jerseys and yes….nostalgia. Sure winning teams are more likely to sell tickets, but that's not always the case. Not when you have two of the greatest players ever to play basketball.

        Do you really believe this team will sell more tickets without them? No their not going to win a title without serious help. But neither is the squad that you'll see this season.

        Trust me, when PP and KG go (and sadly it's clear they will) nobody is paying premium ticket price to see whatever is left of this franchise. Wyc and Ainge better hope that once the garden empties, they can find a way to fill it back up. If rebuilding was easy, why isn't every team succesful at it?

        This league is not built on winning. It's built on tradition. It's built on superstars.

        Is everyone in San Antonio screaming "it's time to rebuild" because they came up short again. No. Because they have class. And because you don't trade legends like Tim Duncan….

        Or Garnett. Or Pierce.

        A final year as a farewell tour is way better business (not to mention it shows class).

        • jpbl1976

          I agree. What does it say about some Celtics fans that they want to cut ties with Pierce already after one lousy series when he played at an elite level after Rondo went down excluding that one playoff series?

          I mean, Lakers fans will riot if their team amnesties Kobe. Celtics fans? We're so scarred by the post-Bird years (and probably the Lakers success during the same period) that some of us are actually cheering Danny on as he kicks KG and Pierce (and maybe even Rondo) to the curb.

          Whatever Red told Danny, I think Red's saying to himself: "Danny missed the point."

    • Jeff

      What I don't understand is the notion that we have to burn the house to the ground to "rebuild." I'd rather have Paul and KG here to help us through the transition to a new starting 5 than Doc frankly. Has Paul expressed an unwillingness recently to coming off the bench (not that I'm entirely sold that he needs to – compared to Benedict Allen last year)? After next year, we can re-sign him to a more favorable $ contract, right? Unless he's full of crap when he has said he wants to retire only playing for the Celts, I don't understand why we can't make that happen. Is he the PP of 2008? of course not, but c'mon the guy can still ball, he's not a stiff. And I wonder if Danny and Wyc publicly stated their commitment, dedication and loyalty to KG and PP if that couldn't give EVERYONE here a healthy shot in the arm rather than the doom and gloom of thinking rebuild means we have to suck.

    • lunworks

      I love this! WIsh more "fans" realized reason Doc left was because of no loyalty! Reason we are Celtics is lost…..now he wants some control over what happens. Anyone who really believes Clippers will win A Championship is nuts! Doc wont have to see Ainge and owners make use embarrassed with PP and KG. I agre Rondo will leave he wants no part of this.For those who think is wont be yrs maybe decades guess the were waiting with me after Bird retired. I was proud way we retired Bird.I see it Reds way! what a Celtic is………..guess owner will get that when empty seats start happening again! Whole thing pisses me off to no end ! Rebuild with and around what you have treasure then there is no empty or lost yrs GUESS SOME WILL LEARN HARD WAY! Put that in your step Ainge!!!

    • Josh_5

      Completely agree. 100% dead on accurate.

  • GymRat

    PS. To anyone who thinks I'm defending Doc (I'm not) as I've been very vocal about his shortcomings and won't actually miss him much at all. I've certainly seen enough PP iso and anemic offense, Ugh, and this quote from his Clippers press conference speaks volumes about his character:

    “It’s nice to do a lot of winning,” he said. “It’s nice to be ‘the winner.’ That’s why I’m here. At this point in my life, that’s all I’m interested in doing.”

    This is all just a mess and PP and KG deserve better than to be caught up as chess pieces in a bitter divorce. They're the team. They're the franchise. Danny sits in an office and Doc on the bench. They don't win or lose games. They watch the real men play them.

    EDIT: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    So I have to say NBA.com is now really suspect IMO for info. They took Doc's quote completely out of context and made it sound much worse than what he really said:

    "When Andy and Gary and I were talking, and I said it over and over again in Boston: It’s nice to do a lot of winning, it’s nicer to be the winner and that’s why I’m here. That’s what I want to do. Quite honestly, at this point of my life, that’s the only reason I’m coaching is to try to win titles. And, for us, we have to prove that we can win a series first and then build from there."

    Fucking hate sensationalism. They guy is comparing what he did in Boston to what he wants to do in LAC. Move along folks…nothing here to see.

    And way to suck there Sekou Smith.

  • The Cardinal

    I heard this quote once about men who are consistently successful with women and I think it applies here: "Those who got, gets!" We see it all the frickin' time with corporate America, former politicians, star journalists, and A-listers in Hollywood, Bollywood and Dollywood, etc… and the bottom line is star coaches and star athletes who are in demand have as much right to change their minds and do something else as a CEO who leaves one company for another, or a former Congressman who accepts a big money job as a lobbyist with a former big money contributor – it truly is the American way..

    No one ever frames it as "disloyal" when an executive at Google leaves to accept a new position with Facebook, but somehow we treat sports figures with disdain for what we profess to admire in the rest of the "bidness" world. I know as fans of the team we tend to become emotionally invested 'cuz that's part of the fun but in the end, the owners, GM, coaches, and players are real people with real ambitions, emotions and desires like the rest of us – only on a much larger scale cuz they have the stroke to make it happen.

    So long Doc …I wish you well. Now Danny, let's get down to the business of putting the best team together that you can for the upcoming season!

    • Danny

      Probably has to do with the fact that stock we place into our teams that is unlike anything else. Very few people actively root for companies or products (there are some that do have fanboys apple, the video game consoles etc.) Buying a product from a company or watching a movie or listening to a song, isn't the same as actively rooting for a team of players. Paying for tickets, watching them every night, wearing their jerseys, buying their merchandise, the sheer amount of emotional and financial investment a sports fan puts into the team of their choice is what makes us expect a certain amount of loyalty from its players unlike any other field. It may not be fair, but it comes with the investment, your loyal to a team you want them to be loyal in return. It's why people refer to the Celtics as we or us, even though nobody on this site is on the team or even works for the Celtics directly. Like I said it's understood its a business, and it may not be fair because people should be able to choose what they do, but this whole business is based on regular people investing their time, emotions, and money into a team. It just comes with the territory.

  • hax

    I like most moves Ainge has done.
    I'm disappointed in Doc not being loyal enough to coach through lowpoints again, especially since he was not a high profile coach until Danny's trades gave him an incredible team. It's stupid to say 'do you blame him?' Because if Pierce left us for a winner a decade ago, we would have blamed him. He stayed through some pathetic years out of loyalty to the city and his fans in an era when most players say 'I'm awesome, show me a free championship ring and give me lots of money.'

    If Pierce speaks out and says 'I'm retiring if I'm traded.' Danny's phone would have a lot less ringing to do. Only teams that would want the cap space would trade for him, and they wouldn't give up value for that.

    • Vincent

      As if PP (or anyone) is walking away from $15m.

  • g12

    Excellent post gymrat and agreed. Celtic pride is gone and i do hope danny trades himself soon, as if….. Imagine if Red HAD traded bird and mchale for person and the other guy. Celtic pride would have been traded back then and for what. They would have still sucked. Point being is this is a game and it is for the fans who pay the salaries through many mediums. Now it is the loyal fans who just got shafted. Sure as hell not wyc and the millionaires club. The paying fans cannot relate wyc, to you or to ‘the business’. Fuck the business, celtic pride has left the garden. We have the realest fan base and i salute us all!

    • Vincent

      Oh God, grow up and stop patting yourself on the back. If the C's go to the Finals because of the moves Danny makes today you'll be cheering louder than anyone. Celtic Pride stems from winning, not from fielding .500 teams that lose in the first round of playoffs.

      • Morpheus

        Shut up. This team was doomed the day Rondo went down, then Sully and Barbosa. Haha you are obviously not a real fan, or did you miss that news?

  • DreMo

    Doc also didnt like the turnover and lack of control over his roster – just look at his new title.

    DA is “energized”, eh?? I hope that doesn’t energize for faulty moves to try getting in front of the rigged NBA lottery.

    Work the phones harder than ever .. get a competent, charismatic young coach to grow with this young unit .. and keep KG .. I understand PP may be done, for the moment in green, but KG may be enticed to stick around with a youthful athletic group .. one to train and impart leadership upon that they can forge ahead with.

  • luana

    BTW Doc RIvers does NOT own a house in LA………what doesit matter? He was fed up with disloyalty as I am and many others. You keep PP and KG get players around them. Watch them win! It isnt that tough…..Red knew how. Its why I AM A Celtic or was! I cant do anther 2 decades guess younger fans will see.Maybe then they wouldnt just shit on HAll of Famers who can help rebuild ! So many team never have a HOF we throwing 2 with Rondo possibly 3 away! Dumb asses!

  • Josh_5

    Why did Ray Allen leave? – Danny
    Why are KG and PP probably getting traded? – Danny
    Why did Doc leave? Got sick of Danny garage selling his roster

  • ola

    Glenn Rivers is a Loser and Phony. He's the reason why lost to the Pacers in 05 and if it wasn't for KG and Ray showing up would have been booed out of town. It's funny that most fans don't realize his true colors.