BOSTON (CBS) -- The Boston Celtics kicked off their offseason Wednesday afternoon, signing head coach Brad Stevens and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge to contract extensions.
While the moves were celebrated by nearly every Celtics fan, there were those skeptical about the timing of the announcement, especially since both still had years remaining on their original contracts. Stevens is a great young coach, but he has yet to win a playoff series in Boston. Ainge did a great job constructing "The New Big 3" back in the summer of 2007, but he's led the C's to just one title in his 13 years on the job.
Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck will not entertain any of that though. He was adamant that the moves were not a way to grab headlines as the Celtics head into an extremely important summer for the rebuilding team, and is happy that both Stevens and Ainge are locked in as very integral pieces of the franchise moving forward.
"When you know the right thing to do, or you feel you have the right guy in place as head coach, there is no reason to go into the latter half of a contract and have any questions," Grousbeck told WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Adam Kaufman. "It felt like a great time to renew with Brad and make sure he and his family was happy. If he said to wait a year that would have been fine with me, but they welcomed the discussion and it was an easy one, as Brad said [in his press conference]. Just having stability and the knowledge [Stevens and Ainge] will be in place for the foreseeable future is a good thing for the Celtics.
"We don't do this for the news cycle and I think we've made it clear for 13 years. We do this to try to win banners," said Grousbeck. "There were times when people wanted me to fire Doc [Rivers] and Danny in 2007. We had a rough year and then we were in a parade in 2008 with those guys. This isn't done for a news cycle or out of weakness, it's done out of strength. It's done out of being a place that can attract and retain people, two guys like Danny and Brad, and it's done whether or not the press covers it or not."
While it's not their goal, there should be no shortage of coverage for the Celtics this summer. It's a crucial offseason for the team as they continue their rebuild, and one they're extremely well prepared for. Boston owns eight picks in the upcoming draft, which is less than three weeks away, including the third overall selection. They have the cap space and money to add two max contracts to their roster.
The options are endless at the moment, and could cause a severe popsicle headache to anyone trying to figure them all out. The hope is whatever Ainge and company end up doing, it will further advance a team that has made the playoffs the last two seasons, but experience first-round exits in each.
"There are so many more possible moves it's going to be really interesting and really fascinating," said Grousbeck. "We just can't predict right now, but we'll do our best to make the right decisions along the way.
"It's definitely a rebuild. We're trying to build toward something better than losing in the first round," he said. "I can't put any other twist on it than we're trying to continue to get better. We have to get better than this. But I'm excited right now, seeing pieces falling into place."
While Grousbeck and the other owners sign off on trades or major signings, the final decisions ultimately land on Ainge. And when it comes to the NBA Draft, the owner has players he would like to see in green, but those opinions remain with just him.
"The draft is in the hands of Danny. If there are any trades then that comes to me, if we're trading players or picks, but when the pick comes up its Danny's decision," he said. "I'm not a 'basketball guy' by nature. I'm a fan and involved with the Celtics, but that's why Danny and his staff are in there. We have so many picks that I'd be overwhelmed if I even tried to sell you that many players.
"But that's explicitly what I don't do. I love the college game and watching video of players, but I keep that all to myself," he said.
Grousbeck expands on the extensions for Stevens and Ainge, Boston's own free agents this summer and his thoughts on Isaiah Thomas as a recruiter:
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