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Celtics owner says no deal until lottery, if then

NEW YORK — Speculation surrounds the Celtics and what they might do if they land a top-three pick during the NBA Draft lottery Tuesday night.

If the pick falls that high, the Celtics could send it to Minnesota as part of a package for All-Star forward Kevin Love, according to reports.

“Nothing has been discussed until we see the pick,” Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck told the Globe Monday night. “When we see what pick it is, the phones will start ringing and we’ll start answering the phones.”

Grousbeck also said he doesn’t expect the Celtics to live up to the deal they made the last time they were a lottery team.


Of course, that is the famous offseason deal the Celtics made in 2007 with Minnesota for another All-Star big man named Kevin — Kevin Garnett. The following season, the Celtics won the title.

“That KG deal might be once in a lifetime, but I think over the next four or five years, we will get back to being contenders, if not three years,” Grousbeck said. “I think we can get back there. I think this summer, one way or another, we’ll take positive steps, whether we just draft two players and continue to build, or whether we make a blockbuster deal.”

He added, “We’ve done it before. We’ve won a championship. The pressure, to some extent, is off, because we’ve done that.

“We know how to do that, and I have a lot of confidence that we’ll get back to that inner circle of contending teams, and then we’ll hope for luck to push us over the top.”

Regardless of how the lottery pans out, Grousbeck is confident.

“We’re as well-situated to rebuild as any team in the league, I think,” Grousbeck said. “We’ve got a young core, a great coach, a great general manager, a bunch of picks [17 over the next five years, including as many as 10 in the first round], and the support of ownership and a fan base. I see this getting better, whether the lottery balls go our way [Tuesday] night.”


Grousbeck is here for the lottery, though he won’t be in the “war room” with the ping-pong ball machine, as he was in 2007.

Back then, the Celtics entered the lottery with the second-best odds to win the top overall pick (19.9 percent), and Grousbeck believed entering that night that the Celtics would at least land a top-two pick.

“I just sort of felt it,” he said. “And then we got the fifth pick, the worst possible pick for us.’’

Grousbeck knew the results of the lottery 40 minutes before anyone outside of the war room, but he couldn’t communicate the difficult news to anyone on the outside because phones and other means of communication were collected at the door.

“I felt really heartbroken for all the people that were there in the bars and sitting in living rooms around Boston hoping that we would get the No. 1 or 2 and we got No. 5,” Grousbeck said. “I felt like I let them down. Somehow, because you get in that lottery room, you somehow think it’s you. That’s why I’m not in the lottery room tomorrow.”

Nor does he plan to be in it ever again.

“After that experience, I have no expectations for the lottery,” he added. “In fact, I think the other way. I’m like reverse-jinxing it at this point. Low expectations, hoping to be pleasantly surprised.”


Then again, it all worked out for the Celtics in 2007 because they landed Garnett two months later, though Grousbeck said, “That two months was among the longest two months of my life.”

Looking back, Grousbeck said, “Maybe it was somehow lucky after all. Danny [Ainge] somehow turned the fifth pick into a championship. We’ll see what he has to work with after [Tuesday].”

Baxter Holmes can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @BaxterHolmes.