Wyc Grousbeck said Danny Ainge tried to poach Joe Mazzulla to Jazz, but blocked move

Before Joe Mazzulla picked up his first-ever win main the Celtics as period in-between trainer, he nearly didn’t get that chance. When the Jazz and Danny Ainge had been on the lookout for a brand new head trainer this previous offseason, they landed on C’s assistant Will Hardy to lead a rebuild in Utah. Mazzulla was once a part of the interview procedure as probably the most up-and-coming younger coaches within the league, which is why Ainge sought after to poach him to the Jazz.

But Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck said he blocked any move to additionally clutch Mazzulla, who was once nonetheless an assistant trainer on Ime Udoka’s workforce on the time. And it was once a just right move in hindsight as Mazzulla was once promoted to period in-between head trainer after Udoka’s yearlong suspension for violating staff insurance policies. Grousbeck made his feedback on WEEI’s The Greg Hill Show, detailing why he close down the try.

“I prevented Danny from stealing him this summer because I told Danny I’d fly to Utah and personally strangle him if he did. You can quote that,” Grousbeck said. “You can take one person, an assistant, and make them a head coach, which they did with Will Hardy.

“Then they also wanted Mazzulla, and I was like, ‘That’s it, you’re crossing the line and we’re not having it.’ That was just when Joe was senior assistant with us and now, all of a sudden, he’s interim head coach. We believe in him and I think the players believe in him for sure.”

The early returns of Mazzulla’s tenure had been spectacular, beginning with the 126-117 win over the 76ers on Tuesday within the season opener. While the C’s had been shorthanded, they regarded spectacular of their first recreation as reigning East champs. Mazzulla had his avid gamers in a position to play as he picked up his first win as a head trainer. He even were given some celebratory water thrown on him after the sport via the Celtics within the locker room.

Mazzulla, 34, doesn’t have any head-coaching revel in excluding two seasons on the Division II degree a couple of years in the past. But the Celtics passed Mazzulla the keys to a name contender. While it’s early and an extended season, the Celtics nonetheless seem like a staff that might make some noise within the playoffs and get again to the NBA Finals. So it sort of feels Grousbeck made the fitting selection via blocking off Ainge from poaching Mazzulla.

“He’s got intensity for being a small-sized guy, point guard,” Grousbeck said. “Sort of been an assistant, never been a head coach in the NBA. Now he’s the interim coach for the Celtics. It’s a big ask for a 34-year-old. Then you meet Mazzulla and you’re like, ‘Alright, this could really work.’ I’ve heard nothing but raves about him over the last few years from Danny, while he was here, and Brad (Stevens) and Ime.”

The avid gamers have spoke back neatly to Mazzulla’s management and steering to this point. It is helping that he’s been at the Celtics teaching workforce since 2019 when then-coach Brad Stevens introduced him in, so there was once already a herbal connection. Mazzulla hasn’t made the transition about himself a lot, but did get some point of view after Tuesday’s win about what a fab alternative he these days has with the C’s.

“At the end of the game, the ‘Let’s go, Celtics’ chant, we picked up right where we left off,” Mazzulla said. “I pride myself in the Boston fans and the city of Boston and when they’re cheering for you it means you’re doing something right.”

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