By A. Sherrod Blakely
BOSTON — When the final horn sounded in Boston's Game Seven loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals, Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck immediately began thinking about next season.
He saw a need to get more size, to be more physical.
And then . . . the Miami Heat reloaded with what might be the most devastating 1-2-3 punch the NBA has seen in years, adding LeBron James and Chris Bosh to perennial all-star Dwyane Wade.
"We were already going to try and get better, get tougher," Grousbeck told CSNNE.com. "But then the Miami thing just took it to a new level."
Since then, Boston has gone from a team that clearly struggled on the boards, to one having arguably the deepest frontcourt in the league which will be led by Kevin Garnett, Jermaine O'Neal, Shaquille O'Neal and Glen Davis.
The moves made by Boston to strengthen its frontcourt seem to be a direct attack at what appears to be the biggest weakness among the C's fellow title contenders.
"I don't have an assessment of other guys, but I do know that we needed size and now we're the biggest team in the league," Grousbeck said. "With [rookie] Semih Erden, we added three, 7-footers."
Even with all that size, Boston strengthened its backcourt by drafting Avery Bradley, re-signing Nate Robinson and adding Von Wafer and Delonte West via free agency.
All the moves made by the C's can be a bit discouraging to some of Boston's younger players without guaranteed deals, like Tony Gaffney and Oliver Lafayette.
"What encourages guys like that is being on the court with [star] players . . . every day and see how they do it right," Grousbeck said. " 'I played with Ray Allen, and I know how to do it right. I'll get to Game Three early and shoot 250 shots.' If these guys are successful, they started off doing it right with [coach] Doc Rivers and his players."
Whether it's the young guys or the seasoned veterans, Grousbeck knows it'll be challenging to get a team with so many strong personalities all on the same page.
"We've done the hard work," he said. "The Big Three (Garnett, Allen and Paul Pierce) came together with [Rajon] Rondo and [Kendrick Perkins] and have two Finals appearances, so that's the core of the team. Guys coming in are gong to adapt to that core. And they're coming in because of that core. Shaq is coming in because of the way we play basketball here."
Although Shaquille O'Neal's plea to Rivers to be a Celtic via texting and later, a visit to Rivers' home, was instrumental, Grousbeck has had his eye on landing O'Neal dating back to . . . you got it, the NBA Finals' loss to the Lakers.
After the game, Finals MVP Kobe Bryant talked glowingly about how important it was for him to have one more championship ring than Shaquille O'Neal.
"The minute I heard Kobe's remarks about having one more ring than Shaq," Grousbeck said, "I said to Danny, 'Go get Shaq!' . . . and here it is."
A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http://twitter.com/sherrodbcsn