Wyc Grousbeck

Wyc Grousbeck

The best place for Celtics news these days seems to come from following the Red Sox. After running into Kris Humphries at the MLB All-Star Game, our own Rob Bradford bumped into C’s owner Wyc Grousbeck at Fenway Park.

Grousbeck, of course, provided the now infamous “fireworks” comment earlier this year, and he’s just as disappointed as most Celtics fans about the team’s failure to pair another star with Rajon Rondo so far this summer.

“We had definitely hoped to try to make bigger moves this offseason, to be honest,” he said. “Having said that, it takes two partners to make a trade, so we focused on longterm trying to build the club. We think we’re a better team now — positioned for the future, some new young talent and even more draft picks — but it’s been a patient summer so far, and I’m not always the most patient guy.”

Without saying as much, Grousbeck vaguely referenced the Kevin Love sweepstakes. As rumors link Love’s future with the Cavaliers, the C’s owner preferred instead to focus on his biggest positive of this summer: Brad Stevens.

“I don’t want to talk about anybody else’s player, but I would say this is Brad Stevens‘ first offseason,” added Grousbeck. “Actually, when I think about the offseason, I think about Brad evaluating our players and working with [Celtics president of basketball operations] Danny [Ainge] to evaluate the college talent, and it’s actually meshed really well. They were very much in synch on draft night, so that’s a positive for me. Brad is so excited to be here and to be building this thing. He’s impatient as well, but his work ethic is extraordinary.”

Love joining the Cavs would be a disappointment for a Celtics front office hoping to make a splash this summer, but at least Grousbeck is pleased about one storyline you may have heard about in Cleveland.

“I’m really happy for LeBron [James], which is not something I ever thought I would say,” he said. “I’m happy for Cleveland, which is something I never really thought I would say. It makes me feel good about the NBA. The NBA is in a golden era right now, and LeBron has a lot to do with that. And this move just shows his quality.”

While Cleveland’s fortunes have reversed rather quickly, the Celtics continue to plod along what may prove to be a far longer road back to NBA championship contention than Grousbeck would have preferred.

“We’re lucky we got to the top of that mountain one time,” he told Bradford prior to Sunday’s Red Sox game. “It makes you all the hungrier to get back. Actually, now that we’re here at Fenway, I asked John Henry after his second what it was like, and he said it was better than the first, and I hope to have that feeling some day. We’ll see.”

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

Last season the NBA took a ton of criticism regarding teams tanking games in order to land a better draft pick. In the end, the Cavaliers jumped up to win their third top overall pick in the last four years. But the Bucks and 76ers — the two worst teams respectively — wound up drafting second and third, selecting potential franchise-altering players.

nba-draft-logoAs expected, altering the draft lottery system has been a major topic of the NBA offseason. Zach Lowe, from Grantland.com, now is reporting that the league has officially submitted a proposal that would allow all 14 teams that miss the playoffs to have significantly more similar odds of taking home a high draft selection.

From Lowe: ‘€œUnder the current system, the team with the worst record has a 25 percent chance of snagging the No. 1 pick, perhaps the most valuable asset in the entire NBA. The team with the second-worst record has a 19.9 percent chance of winning the No. 1 pick, and the third-worst team enters the lottery with a 15.6 percent chance of moving up to the top slot. The odds decline from there, with the final five teams in the lottery — the teams with the five best records — each having a 1.1 percent or worse chance of moving up to No. 1.

‘€œThe league’€™s proposal gives at least the four worst teams the same chance at winning the No. 1 pick: approximately an identical 11 percent shot for each club. The odds decline slowly from there, with the team in the next spot holding a 10 percent chance. The lottery team with the best record will have a 2 percent chance of leaping to the No. 1 pick, up from the the minuscule 0.5 percent chance it has under the current system.’€

Firstly, it’€™s pretty clear that there would be a shift in balance amongst the 14 teams eligible to win the lottery. All of them would have between an 11 percent and 2 percent chance at the No. 1 pick, while the worst four teams essentially would have the same odds to win it.

Secondly, rather than the lottery only awarding the top three picks, changes in this format would now allow the top six selections in the draft to be raffled off. This would provide teams with far less incentive to finish lower in the standings with so many picks now to be randomly determined. Imagine tanking to be the worst team and ending up with the No. 7 pick! That would not sit well with any fan base. Problem solved.

Of course, there is a potential issue with the format. It may sound silly, but there is concern that teams may purposely fall out of the 8 seed, opting to take their chances in a low lottery spot, rather than face off with a 1 seed in the playoffs.

When it comes down to it, it would be incredibly tough, not only for a team to lack the competitiveness to fight for a playoff run, but also for an owner to pass on the extra playoff revenue they would be choosing to skip out on. It just doesn’€™t make sense considering there would still be no guarantees in the lottery, simply a better chance.

To play devil’€™s advocate, if a deep, talented draft class (like 2014) came along, maybe a team believes the chance of winning a top-six pick gives it the player it needs to contend in the following season.

The Mavericks were the 8 seed in the ultracompetitive Western Conference last season, losing at the hands of the eventual champion Spurs in the first round. Would passing on that experience/revenue to try to even win the No. 6 pick (Marcus Smart) have been worth it for them? It would definitely make them a better team for the future.

Would Mark Cuban realistically go through with this? Doubtful.

The proposal is in the early stages, and could still involve tweaks, but we all expect to see something along these lines put in place over the next couple of years. No doubt, it is far better than the system currently in place — a win for the NBA.

Follow Julian Edlow on Twitter @julianedlow.

Blog Author: 
Julian Edlow

Celtics legend Bill Russell collapsed during a speaking engagement in Lake Tahoe, according to WCVB-TV’s Scott Isaacs. He is reportedly conscious and “doing OK.” Russell, 80, underwent open-heart surgery in 2012.

Celtics legend Bill Russell collapsed during a speaking engagement in Lake Tahoe, according to WCVB-TV’s Scott Isaacs. He is reportedly conscious and “doing OK.” Russell, 80, underwent open-heart surgery in 2012.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach
Jackie Mac joins the guys to discuss her thoughts on a possible mid-season tournament in the NBA, LeBron's return to Cleveland, trade rumors with the Celtics and Red Sox, and Darrelle Revis' contract situation.

[0:04:00] ... -- during moments from ESPN Boston here on WEE IT immensely Maloney Christian Fauria. What's in the back and forth on Twitter beef between the Celtics blog and Jeff Goodman -- about the benefits of may be trading Rajon Rondo. And you might see the story they came out where I think it was to Marcus cousins was lobbying for Rondo to ...
[0:05:17] ... great place result so. Talks reignited about Josh Schmidt. I'm going to Sacramento Kings and we all know that Josh and Rondo or our blood and held them. You know so I think that's where -- ...
[0:06:30] ... you know some of the candidate that -- carry him -- what Dirk Nowitzki didn't doubt that to me it's silly. -- -- with -- -- -- -- he did something altruistic Mickey different team. To ...

The fireworks Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck promised are nowhere to be seen and no showy display appears on the horizon, so Danny Ainge has come under some fire.

Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins sat down with Grantland’s Bill Simmons to talk about a variety of topics, including his list of the top players in the league.

Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins sat down with Grantland’s Bill Simmons to talk about a variety of topics, including his list of the top players in the league.

Cousins said Celtics star Rajon Rondo is the best point guard in the league, saying, “Absolutely” when questioned on it. He denied that his team’s feud with the Clippers and Chris Paul had any role in his thinking.

There have been rumors that the Kings were interested in trading for Rondo, although there hasn’t been much speculation lately.

Rondo and Cousins both went to Kentucky, although they were separated by three years.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar
Phil Pressey

Phil Pressey

As the clock struck midnight, Phil Pressey joined a list of 14 Celtics under guaranteed contract, leaving only one roster spot for summer league standouts Chris JohnsonChris Babb, Colton Iverson and Mike Moser.

Obviously, Danny Ainge could have a trade or 10 coming down the pike, but the Celtics president of basketball operations currently has more than enough players available to fill out another hodgepodge of a roster in 2014-15.

Barring another deal, here’s the current salary structure for the coming season.

Rajon Rondo: $12.9 million
Gerald Wallace: $10.1M
Jeff Green: $9.2M
Marcus Thornton: $8.6M
Avery Bradley: $7.2M
Brandon Bass: $6.9M
Keith Bogans: $5.3M (non-guaranteed)
Joel Anthony: $3.8M
Marcus Smart: $3.2M
Vitor Faverani: $2.1M
Kelly Olynyk: $2.1M
Tyler Zeller: $1.7M
James Young: $1.7M
Jared Sullinger: $1.4M
Chris Johnson: $0.9M (non-guaranteed)
Chris Babb: $0.8M (non-guaranteed)
Phil Pressey: $0.8M
TOTAL: $78.7M ($71.7M guaranteed)

While Ainge will do his darnedest to pair Kevin Love or another franchise-altering player with Rondo before conversely considering deals for his All-Star point guard, it becomes more likely with each passing week that the Celtics will enter the season with 15 of these 17 players under contract.

Even without the trio of Bogans, Johnson and Babb, the Celtics are $8.6 million over the salary cap and $5.1 million under the luxury tax level. (Ainge would love to deal Bogans’ attractive $5.3 million non-guaranteed contract before cutting ties with the veteran waste of cap space.) Unless the C’s somehow become playoff contenders, they’re not paying that tax, leaving only the mid-level exception, bi-annual exception or minimum contracts to add free agents.

Unless Ainge can work his magic on a sign-and-trade for Greg Monroe, the Celtics will whiff on the NBA’s impressive 2014 free agent class. That’s strike two after the lottery pick came up sixth in the equally remarkable 2014 draft class, by the way. The trade market is all that’s left before the C’s strike out looking this summer.

If all remains the same, however, here’s the most likely 2014-15 Celtics roster.

C: Tyler Zeller, Vitor Faverani, Joel Anthony
PF: Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, Brandon Bass
SF: Jeff Green, Gerald Wallace, Chris Johnson, James Young
SG: Avery Bradley, Marcus Thornton
PG: Rajon Rondo, Marcus Smart, Phil Pressey

Zeller’s presence combined with a presumably healthy Faverani and Anthony’s expiring $3.8 million contract leaves little room for Iverson, even among a shaky center corps. The trios of power forwards and point guards seem solid enough. The salaries alone for Green and Wallace demand minutes and Johnson has proven more deserving of a roster spot than Babb, leaving Young bouncing back and forth between Boston and Portland, Maine. Young could also earn some playing time at shooting guard, but Bradley and Thornton will divvy up most of those minutes.

Considering Cleveland has all but locked up a spot in the postseason, it’s hard to imagine the additions of Zeller and Thornton transforming a 25-win team into a playoff squad, even with a healthy Rondo for the entire season. Unless the Love boat pulls into Boston Harbor, it might be time to start thinking about the 2015-16 salary structure.

Gerald Wallace: $10.1M
Jeff Green: $9.2M (player option)
Avery Bradley: $7.7M
Keith Bogans: $5.5M (non-guaranteed)
Marcus Smart: $3.4M
Tyler Zeller: $2.6M (team option)
Jared Sullinger: $2.3M (team option)
Vitor Faverani: $2.2M (non-guaranteed)
Kelly Olynyk: $2.2M (team option)
James Young: $1.8M
Chris Johnson: $1.0M (non-guaranteed)
Chris Babb: $1.0M (non-guaranteed)
Phil Pressey: $1.0M (non-guaranteed)
TOTAL: $50.0M ($23.0M guaranteed)

I’m not sure I’ve stressed enough the importance of landing Love now to convince Rondo remaining on this roster is worth the added millions he could command by staying on the Celtics — especially considering another free agent class largely ignored Boston — but one more look at this projected lineup should explain all you need to know.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

The Celtics have seen enough to believe little Phil Pressey can be a big part of their immediate future.

According to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, Pressey’s contract will be guaranteed next season after passing the midnight Tuesday deadline.

Barring late trade offer that forces Celts to use Pressey – and nothing’s in the works – his contract for next yr will be guaranteed.