Over the past year, there has been a structural shift within the Celtics organization. Danny Ainge, the former president of basketball operations, stepped down from a position he had held since 2003 before becoming chief executive of the Jazz in mid-December. Immediately after Ainge left, Brad Stevens moved to the front office, which led to Imme Udoka replacing him.
On Wednesday, Udoka discussed his relationship with Stevens and what a dynamic that would make some people uncomfortable was like for the two.
But the franchise revamp didn’t stop there. Kemba Walker was traded to the Thunder, a deal that brought back Al Horford. Eventually, Walker added another outgoing Celtics, Evan Fournier, to the Knicks. Boston also made Marcus Smart the starting point guard, believing he could help maximize the abilities of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
But with the Celtics and their first-year head coach learning how to fit in with each other, and with injuries and the pandemic often forcing Boston to be understaffed, the Celtics got off to a rough start, full of headaches. Loss. It got so bad that they dropped to 11th in the East, meaning they didn’t qualify for the conference playoffs at the time.
Fast forward, from raising the No. 18 banner to the TD Garden rafters, and they have four victories. Celtics majority owner Wyc Grousbeck recently appeared on Boston Sports Radio WEEI 93.7’s The Greg Hill Show to discuss the organization’s journey since Ainge’s departure sparked a string of drama.
When asked about Udoka’s growth in his first year as head coach and the respect he has earned, not only within the Celtics, but across the league, including those who may think Udoka is the one they want to be for The player who played for the coach, Grossbeck replied: “I like that about him. When I decided to bring him in last summer, I hoped he was already in it, it was just putting it out and giving him the platform. And support questions, and roster, to show what a great coach he can be.
“So it’s a matter of him and me and all of us, Brad and Steve Pagliuca and everybody, we all believe he can do it in the right circumstances. Now, so far, this Awesome. I mean, let’s say it’s awesome; he won two Game 7s as a rookie coach and now we’re in the Finals. Ime is a great guy, I think Kyle The specials coach is great and hopefully for many years to come. I’m very happy he’s here.”
When it comes to Ainge’s importance in building this team, Grossbeck shared: “He’s been very helpful when he’s here. Having to threaten to kick him out of the locker room when he shows up really blows my mind. Painful. Popped up in the Milwaukee series.
“I thought, ‘Sorry, guests aren’t allowed in this locker room. You represent the Utah Jazz.’ So that was fun. We all had a good laugh. It really pained me to have to kick him out of the locker room.
“You look back at what he did. I told him I wanted a new coach and he said, ‘It sounds like you want a college coach,’ and he recommended Brad Stevens. So Brad’s Great performance. Now Brad is coaching the basketball team. Brad thinks Ime is the best person for the coaching job. So it goes back to Danny and then, obviously, Marcus Smart and Jaylen’s The draft, as well as Jason, we attracted Al to be a free agent initially.
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“But that’s the core of this team, which is now obviously being formed under Danny. Then he quit last year on his own terms. So it’s sweeter to let him try to get the ball into the locker room now. But We love Danny, we always will, he’s a Celtics for life.”
Grousbeck also discussed his five-year outlook for the organization.
“When Danny suddenly quit in February or early March last year, for whatever reason; he came to me and said, ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ So it was unexpected, unpopular, and changed Became promoting Brad and hiring Amy [Udoka] Then redo the roster in the summer. But then sent half the players away before the February trade deadline; seven of 15. So too many switches were flipped. “
He continued: “I believe we may have five, six or seven years here and the 24, 25-year-old players are our most talented players. So it’s just basic math. Let’s build around these people. Let’s give With all their advantages over teammates and coaches, let’s see what happens.
“Suddenly, after we started the season and Danny stepped down, getting to the Finals was really fast. We’re just trying to take advantage of it now and not worry too much about the next five or six years. But I do like the possibilities. sex.”
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