- Chris Forsberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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Celtics CEO Wyc Grousbeck offered some insight into Boston's trade deadline decision-making during an in-studio appearance on Boston sports radio WEEI (93.7 FM) on Tuesday. Here's a handful of leftovers from the interview:
* RINGS AND THINGS: While talking about the value that veteran players like Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett bring beyond their on-court contributions, Grousbeck noted, "We think we’ve got a chance this year to do something important, which is to show these younger players what it means to be a Celtics team fighting hard in the playoffs. Look at the Lakers on the other side, they’ve been playing worse than we have. And Kobe [Bryant] said, ‘Look, you get us to the playoffs, I’ll take our team against anybody.’ That’s Kobe. We don’t have Kobe on our team, but with KG and Paul, and then [Avery] Bradley and Jeff Green behind them, I’m excited about this team. I’m not saying we’re going to win the thing. We have won the thing; I know what it feels like. We’ve been to the Finals another time. This team is tough. I wouldn’t want to play us in the playoffs."
* CELTIC FOR LIFE? With his name dancing in trade rumors again this February, and a partially guaranteed deal next season, Grousbeck was asked if he thought Pierce would retire a Celtic. "I hope so," he said. "We’re going to retire his number, whatever happens. But Paul is an all-time great. Just watching him [vs. Utah], he looked like he was 25 again at key moments. I loved it. I just respect so much what those guys are bringing -- out in Utah, on a back-to-back. Look, they are well-paid and everything; people can take shots. People can say ‘Big deal, they’re playing for two hours, what’s the big hardship?’ ... It’s a grind and that was a grind [Monday] night in overtime and everything else. They could have folded up the tent and they didn’t. I love watching them and the day that Paul is gone, the day that [Garnett] is gone, the day that Doc [Rivers] is gone, the day that [Rajon] Rondo is gone, I'm going to miss them forever. Those guys are phenomenal."
* CAP & COMPETITION: The new CBA is expected to further level the playing field in the NBA and Grousbeck admitted that a Celtics team that has been willing to spend will be challenged by the new rules and looming increases in luxury tax. "What we’re trying to do in the league, and we did this in partnership with the players, is to make more of the teams competitive," said Grousbeck. "That’s just a thing we all decided together, particularly in this last collective bargaining. We’re going to try to even out the talent a little bit, so guys can’t just load it up and take $90-100 million. We paid up in the $80s or, with tax the high $80s, for several years and you just can't do that anymore, or it’s very very hard. You can’t just trade a bunch of salary, dump it, and it all ends up in New York or L.A. anymore. In the old days, without a cap, you could do that. It doesn’t happen that way in this league. That’s a deliberate attempt to have the smaller market teams be able to hang onto their guys and have a level playing field, so you have to have the best guys for the money. It's more like the NFL, as opposed to baseball, which is, let the rich guys spend what they want."
* KG IN THE RAFTERS? All right, Pierce's No. 34 is headed to the rafters. What about No. 5 for Garnett? Will it be retired when he hangs up his high-tops? "First off, these guys are still playing," said Grousbeck. "I think people heavily involved in winning Banner 17 ought to be up there. In fact I ought to hang 44 up there for [Celtics president of basketball operations Danny] Ainge."
12dKevin Pelton and Chad Ford