BOSTON — The Boston Celtics are in an enviable situation as a franchise — a team with championship aspirations for this season and also prospects who inspire big plans for the future.
Those plans won’t come cheap — the talent Boston has acquired will require expensive contracts and a lot of luxury tax money. But for Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck, speaking to reporters at the team’s Shamrock Foundation gala Thursday evening, the most important thing he wants to see is another title.
“I want to see some day one of these again,” Grousbeck said, smiling and pointing to his 2008 championship ring. “But I want to have a sustained run where we’re the real deal. In the mix. Contending. And I’d like to start right now. I came in, I named the company Banner 17, and we only had 16. I’m not ready to re-name the company, but the goal is the same. You have to honor the Celtics by winning championships. That’s the way to be an ownership that does your part. You have to win the thing.”
Grousbeck foots the bill in part for what will be an extremely expensive team for the next few years. The next big contract likely to be handed out: Kyrie Irving, who told season-ticket holders he plans to re-sign with the Celtics in the summer earlier in the preseason.
When asked, Grousbeck avoided direct discussions about Irving’s future (the Celtics can’t officially discuss contracts with Irving until July 1), but he said he’s excited Irving would consider the Celtics.
“I feel like I’ve been getting to know Kyrie for a year,” Grousbeck said. “Everything I learn about him and every connection that I make is authentic. He’s genuine, he’s a true Celtic, basically, and a great person. I’m really honored that he’ll plan on considering us next summer and I couldn’t be happier with how the relationship stands and the fact that he’s leading our team into this exciting season.”
Signing Irving is only a part of it. The Celtics also have to make a decision on Terry Rozier, whose rookie extension deadline looms on Oct. 15. If he doesn’t sign an extension, he will enter restricted free agency after the season, where he will likely get a big offer sheet from someone.
The Celtics can match that offer sheet, but they are staring a massive luxury tax bill in the face if they do (and even if they don’t). After Rozier, Boston will need to consider a rookie extension for Jaylen Brown. The following year, Jayson Tatum will get his turn.
With multiple max deals already on the books, the Celtics will be paying a lot of money. But teams built around Irving, Tatum and Brown — with whichever other players remain on the team — will likely accomplish Grousbeck’s goal of extended contention.
Extended contention doesn’t come cheap, but Grousbeck hinted the ownership group might be willing to pony up.
“Just do the math, man,” Grousbeck said. “I don’t know if you’re a math major or not. Apparently, I’m not a math major.”