Team owner Wyc Grousbeck was bothered by Danny Ainge stepping down as the Boston Celtics GM during the 2021 offseason, but as he explained on The Greg Hill Show on January 2, he was thrilled to have Brad Stevens subsequently step into the C's President of Basketball Operations role.
"I was really bummed about (Ainge leaving)... I wasn't expecting him to come in and say he needed to step down," Grousbeck said (h/t WEEI's Justin Turpin). "That was really the way it was. Others thought I had something to do with it but really I just received the news he was leaving and it was not welcomed news by me. Thinking about what to do next, I was talking to Brad about how we would hire a GM ... I looked at him out of nowhere and said 'Brad, you've got a great basketball mind, you've been in the draft the last seven years or so with Danny. You've built teams at Butler, you know personnel, you know everyone in the league, do you wanna think about being the GM?' And he thought of it overnight and came back and said, 'I'm in.'"
Of course, Stevens' move to the front office opened up the head coaching role for Ime Udoka; who Grousbeck would probably like to spend minimal time talking about from here on out after the whirlwind 2022 offseason scandal that resulted in his eventual firing. Udoka's exit opened the door for Joe Mazzulla, though, and while many feel the former West Virginia star underperformed, Grousbeck has a far different take...
Wyc Grousbeck gives Joe Mazzulla's Boston Celtics coaching effort an A
Not only does Grousbeck see Mazzulla as a non-disappointment, but he practically gave him the biggest endorsement possible given his 70%+ winning percentage since taking over as an emergency fill-in ahead of 2022 training camp.
"These next couple of months will say a lot," Grousbeck prefaced before saying, "But right now, you have to give this team an A, gotta give Joe an A for coaching. He's inspirational... Joe is a guy that you just instinctively when you meet him, and spend time with him, and I'd imagine if you were a player and he's coaching you, you would feel like you want to make him proud of you. He's one of those guys, his opinion counts."
A championship under the circumstances he will have won it -- taking over with minimal preparation and dealing with massive roster changes in his first offseason -- would make Mazzulla a bona fide Boston Celtics coaching legend.
A bigger coaching legend than both Ainge and Stevens by a good bit, actually.