Celtics Close To 98.5 Deal, Belichick Has No Patience For Salk and Holley

While it has been rumored as being close for some time now, it appears a deal to make 98.5 The SportsHub the radio home of the Boston Celtics is really close now.

Sean Grande and Danny Ainge both appeared on the Toucher and Rich show this morning, and while no announcement has been made yet, it seems pretty obvious that this is going to happen.

I’m conflicted on the move to this particular station, which has shown itself to be Celtics-hostile in the past, particularly in the afternoons. Does getting the radio rights change their tune? I doubt it.

I’m convinced of a couple things regarding this Celtics team. These will both go against what is largely being said elsewhere in the media.

1) This team won’t tank. They will not be as bad as people seem to think they will be. They definitely will not be a contender, but they will be at least on the fringes of the playoff hunt. A .500 record is not out of the question. There is too much talent on the roster for them to be among the worst teams in the league. They will struggle early, without Rondo, and a new coach and system and players, but they will not bottom out.

2) Rajon Rondo will not be traded this season. It just doesn’t make sense.

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Bill Belichick was in top form yesterday in dealing with questions, both at his press conference at Gillette Stadium and on his weekly interview on WEEI with Salk and Holley.

In what is becoming a pattern, Albert Breer attempts to grill Belichick on a question everyone knows will not get answered, and the coach shoots him down.

Q: How close was Rob Gronkowski to playing yesterday?
BB: I don’t know. He was inactive.
Q: Did he have a shot to play?
BB: He was inactive.
Q: Going into the day, was there a chance he’d play?
BB: He was inactive for the game.
Q: What about Danny Amendola?
BB: He was inactive too.
Q: I know they were inactive.
BB: They were inactive so they didn’t play.
Q: I think you have an idea how close they were.
BB: Well, they weren’t able to play. What do you want, percentage points? They couldn’t play.
Q: Going into the day, did you know they couldn’t play?
BB: They were inactive.
Q: That doesn’t answer my question.
BB: They were inactive, it’s as simple as that.

Then on Salk and Holley, Belichick seemed like he could just not fathom a question put to him from Michael Holley, who should know better. Ian Logue put together a partial transcript of the interview, which was just an abomination.

Holley started by asking about how Belichick always talks about what an opposing team does well, even if they’re a bad team.

MICHAEL HOLLEY: “I get the sense that if you, name the team, if it’s the worst team in the NFL, no matter what the circumstances are, I get the sense that you would find a way to say something good about that team or to think what that team does well.  Is it simply you’re preparing for that team’s best even if they haven’t shown it?”

BILL BELICHICK: “Well, of course, you always prepare for your opponent’s best.  I mean, what else would you prepare for?  Do you think they’re going to come in here and turn the ball over eight times?  I mean, you don’t prepare for that.  You prepare for a team to come in here and play their best football against you, and how are you going to play your best football against them?  That’s a competition every week.  We can’t control how they play, but we expect them to play well and we’re going to prepare for them to play well.  That’s what our game plan is going to be based on is the things that they do well and what we’ve seen them do well.”

MH: “You expect them to play well even…I’m not saying this is the case of the Bucs, but some teams haven’t played well.  But you still expect it when you play them?”

BB: “Of course.  Why would you think they wouldn’t?”

MH: “If they haven’t done it…”

BB: “So what?  That doesn’t mean anything.  They’ve done something…I mean, they’ve done something.  Things that they’ve done well.  Doesn’t mean that this week they can’t do a lot of things well if they’ve shown that they’ve done things in spurts or in one phase of the game or another.  I mean I think it would be irresponsible to coach a team and tell them, ‘Ok fellas, the team that’s coming in here is not going to play well, so we should expect them to play a bad game so why don’t we play one that’s just a little bit better than their bad game?  I think that would be totally irresponsible.  I can’t imagine any coach ever doing that.  I mean, I couldn’t imagine that, so I wouldn’t know how to prepare a team the way you’re talking about.  I couldn’t even fathom that.”

A minute or so later, Belichick really put the hammer down on Holley:

MH: If you’re playing a bad team, I mean, it’s tough to say, ‘this team is capable of doing X, Y, Z, when the team is, let’s say you’re playing…

BB: “Yeah, like when we were 12-1 and went down to Miami and they were 1-12 or whatever it was? And they beat us Monday night in ’04? Is that what you’re talking about? Like it couldn’t ever happen? Like what game are you…I mean, what game are we talking about here? I mean, I just don’t understand it. I think it’s…to me, that’s just the most irresponsible thing I’ve ever heard of. I can’t even fathom it.”

The only thing I can possibly think is that they somehow did this on purpose to get Belichick going and create shock value and entertainment. Michael Holley cannot possibly be this dumb.  He just can’t. With two books on Belichick and the Patriots under his belt, there is just no way in the world he can possibly think that these are good questions.

The only redeeming part of the interview came afterwards when Mike Salk got Belichick to talk about Lawrence Taylor. That’s the way to salvage any Belichick interview,  I guess. Ask him to talk history.

  • bsmfan

    Someday, a person in the media will muster up the balls to ask BB if he ordered the Code Red for Santiago.

  • Jon

    Once the C’s to Sports Hub deal is complete, the biggest winner is Adam Jones. He may have the cushiest job on the planet.

    • OpinionNotFact

      No, anyone who happens to listen to nighttime radio is the winner because they won’t have to hear his Felger impression on a nightly basis anymore.

  • QuantumMechanic

    “Breer used to be a good football writer. Now he’s just a hack s**t-stirrer.”

    There — fixed it for ya.

  • Tony

    Just because Belichick won’t answer the question doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be asked. Breer is doing his job unlike most of the lazy reporters in that room.

    • latetodinner

      I disagree. I think the questions Breer is asking…specifically about the injury status of players should not be asked and they certainly should not be asked in the confrontational way Breer does it. Breer’s job is to report not make the news. If he wants to understand more about the injury status let him develop sources, talk to people and find away around the official line coming from the coach. BB has made it clear the organization does not talk about injuries. How hard is that for Breer to understand. BB is not there to fill Breer’s notebook. If there is a story about an injury let him go find it. Otherwise, ask a question the coach is willing to answer. This constant head butting into the wall crap needs to end.

    • JamesAllen

      Well, a reporters job is to report news. What news did he end up reporting?

      So who was lazy?

    • HighWireNickEsasky

      Breer’s job is to get the information on the players/team out to the public, and he knows perfectly well that asking these questions brings him no closer to getting this information. Belichick doesn’t discuss injuries, period. This was just an attempt to fool people into believing he “is doing his job unlike most of the lazy reporters in that room.”

  • OpinionNotFact

    They get “butthurt” because it’s their “job”.
    But it doesn’t matter to me because it’s entertaining.

  • latetodinner

    Bruce…

    You did not even quote the best part of the interview. WHen Holley asked about the contract extension and three times got the “I do not comment on my contract” answer.

    My observation is that Bill will not do this again with Salk and Holley. He had no problem with Ordway because Ordway understood how to get BB to talk and fill space. He did not take Bill so seriously. He would bait him, joke with him and ask questions in ways that got Bill talking but not defensive.

    Salk for whatever reason does not understand the game of football and he certainly does not understand Bill Belichick as an interview subject. You can almost hear the condescention in Salk’s voice each time he asks a question because he knows it will not be answered. Salk is almost aloof as if he thinks he is doing BB a favor by interviewing him. Holley on the other hand thinks he has some inside relationship with BB…which he might … but it never comes across on the radio…instead Holley sounds like a cub reporter who has not done his homework every time he asks a question. Together that has to be a painful 25 minutes for BB each week. It is a poorly done interview and I can’t believe BB is going to reup for it next year.

  • agramante

    Yeah, maybe Holley’s in Bobby V mode from about this time last year. And Salk just can’t come up with anything better. I’m guessing sometime around late April or early May, when the ratings including Sox games started coming in, Holley decided it was never going to work with Salk. If he hadn’t decided that from the very beginning (but I think he made an honest effort).

  • nufced

    The only time I ever heard Belichick comfortable with an interview on WEEI was when Smerlas and DeOssie were there with Ordway, Bill spoke openly and was relaxed and informative…probably because he respected Fred and Steve as former players. To listen to Salk and Holley trying to prod Bill with questions like that was painful…and what’s worse is that there isn’t anyone on the current WEEI roster of hosts that could evoke a relaxed, informative interview with Belichick…

  • JamesAllen

    Bruce, I am surprised that you think Holley knows much about football or the Patriots. I remember after reading Patriot Reign that my first impression was one of complete disappointment – how could a writer spend two years with such access and only manage that? It was filled with Holley’s garbled thinking which brought back memories of his mostly undecipherable Globe columns.

    • http://bostonsportsmedia.com/ Bruce Allen

      No, that wasn’t really what I was suggesting. It was more that Holley spent the better parts of three years (including War Room) around Belichick and you’d think he’d at least pick up a bit on how the guy operates and thinks. As you say, he appears to have retained or learned next to nothing.

  • Edward

    with so many Pats, Bs and Cs conflicts, they should have just gone to WBZ-AM

  • HomerGreenz

    “They will not be as bad as people seem to think they will be. They definitely will not be a contender, but they will be at least on the fringes of the playoff hunt. A .500 record is not out of the question.”

    A .500 record? They were a .500 team last season, WITH KG and PP. This year they will be bottom 10 in the NBA, both offensively and defensively. 28-30 wins at the most.

    What people? From what I’ve heard and read most media and fans in Boston agree with you, Bruce.

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  • HomerGreenz

    It’s official:

    Additional Celtics daily and weekly programming will be featured on98.5 The Sports Hub throughout the season, and secondary game coverage will be provided by CBS RADIO Boston’s 100.7 WZLX as necessary.

    All Celtics programming will be available on-air and online atCBSBostonsports.com. In addition, fans can hear broadcasts on the Celtics mobile app and at Celtics.com.