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Welcome To The Rebuild

 


Have you let go yet?

Or are you still hopeful this year’s Celtics team can overcome a half-dozen better Eastern Conference teams and make a miraculous run to the Finals? Maybe you’re thinking next year’s team has one final chance at a title behind a 36-year-old Paul Pierce, a 38-year-old Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, who will be coming off a torn ACL, and Jared Sullinger, he of the recent back surgery. Those are romantic, sentimental thoughts and the idea of dissolving the core would be hard to take, no matter how solid the logic in doing so.

Still, from the day Rondo went down with his ACL injury, I’ve tried to embrace the idea that Pierce and Garnett will leave the Celtics with the 2008 title and the collection of near misses that followed. There’s no reason for shame over that kind of legacy. We’ll remember the Pierce-Garnett teams for years to come and eventually I suspect we’ll think less about the titles they left on the table (2009, 2010) than the one they won.

There’s also no reason to get maudlin about the era’s figurative end too soon. The likelihood is that neither will be traded before the Feb 21st deadline, not because Danny Ainge wouldn’t move them but because of the challenges of making a trade work for guys with their salaries (and Garnett’s no-trade clause). But as the weekend’s “Clips interested in KG” rumor suggests, there may yet be a team that could decide to go all in this year and spin off the kind of asset the Celtics couldn’t turn down.

Reasonable people can disagree about whether Eric Bledsoe offers suitable return for a player like Garnett (many Clipper fans would turn down a deal built around those two principles and not without reason) but Celtics fans, I would argue, need to give less weight to the recent winning streak, coming as it has against subpar competition, and more to the possibility we could prolong the rebuild if Ainge doesn’t get value for his fading assets while they’re still attractive pieces on the market.

Personally, I suspect the Celtics are already focused on the rebuild behind closed doors on Causeway Street. If they’re not, or if they’re swayed towards a victory lap for Pierce and Garnett (which won’t be nearly as heroic as fans seem to suspect), I’d be disappointed.

The Celtics would be foolish to mortgage any piece of their future to supplement what’s left of the 2013 team. Ainge must know this team is on the downward slope of the mountain. They’ve played well lately, but even at their peak level of performance, what is the ceiling for this current group of Celtics? A seven game loss in the first round? A seven game loss in the second? That’s about as far as I can imagine them going without straying into blind homerism, something unlikely to bewitch Ainge. The Celtics could win every game between now and February 21 and I still think he would be more likely to offload veterans than acquire them.

My suspicion is that none of this will prove popular, which shouldn’t surprise me but does.

But I don’t consider any of this negative. I consider it proactive.

The popular rhetoric about Boston is accurate: we don’t hang banners for Atlantic Division titles, Eastern Conference Championships or undermanned runs to the second round of the playoffs. The only reason to hang onto Garnett and Pierce is if you think there’s a title in the offing. I don’t. So, I’m in favor of moving them for reasonable return, either this month or this summer. It’s also why I don’t care about roster composition at this point. Titles are won by stars and whether we’re ready to admit it or not, very soon the Celtics’ main concern will be enhancing their overall talent level and searching for that next transcendent player.

They might as well start looking now.

  • tbunny

    Sure, if a trade improves your long term prospects, you have to consider it. But for myself, I'm a little surprised that no one is really talking about trading…Rondo. Obviously he doesn't have much value at the moment, but let's say for the sake of argument that the Celtics make it to the second round and lose to the Heat/Bulls/Knicks in a tough series.

    Notice first of all that we're already way beyond what many commentators were saying immediately after Rondo was hurt. They were saying the season is over and this is now a lottery team. You're acknowledging that despite your avowed pessimism, this team could well make it to the second round without Rondo. Think about that.

    Let's say that happens and the guards play pretty well. Don't you have to consider whether the team might get better through using Rondo to upgrade at 4-5? What if we could get someone like Varejao?

    • jman

      Trade him. Let this season ride out with these players gelling. Trade rondo for an all-star big to replace kg for the future. That gives the team currently the time to have gelled together. Trade a few pieces possibly like Bradley and bass or keep them. This team is doing fine as long as they don't revert back to the rondo style offense.

      • tbunny

        Admittedly I think it would be almost impossible to trade Rondo for "an all-star big". They are just not on the market. I think the best we could do would be a near all-star and maybe clear some cap.

        • Spade25

          Cap space doesn't mean anything in Boston. This isn't LA or Dallas or NY. It's not a free agent hot bed. Older talent that is chasing a ring is one thing, but thinking you will be able to attract a big name free aagent with cap space in Boston is almost like trying to do that in Milwaukee or Detroit or Cleveland. IF (And I don't agree that we should trade Rondo) you are going to trade rondo, you need high lottery picks or young talent in return.

          • Phil725

            Cap space means something everywhere, there's a common misconception that if you can't attract max free agents, there's no point. Tons of deals can be made when you have that kind of flexibility though. Cleveland got a free first round pick just because Memphis' owners didn't want to pay the luxury tax. OKC got Eric Maynor for free because Utah didn't want to pay the luxury tax (I still think he would've been a big time piece if he didn't tear his ACL…) There hasn't been a big time star absorbed into cap space in a while (I don't really think Marcus Camby to LAC counts,) but that's always an option as well. You could always try what Phoenix did with Eric Gordon and overpay an almost max player, though I'm not big on that path.

            The point is, you have options. Cap space leads to free assets from facilitating trades, and if you're smart with your cap space, as in, don't blow it by giving guys like Jeff Green 4 year contracts, you can speed up your rebuild.

            The other side to the argument for clearing cap space; you can't do anything at all if you're over the cap and up near the tax with just residual deals, which is the situation the Cs are in for the next 3 years. They need to clear some money just to breathe.

          • Anthony

            Agreed on the Eirc Maynor point. His change of pace from Westbrook definitely adds another dimension and advantage in OKC's favor.

          • Phil725

            It used to at least. Reggie Jackson plays over him now. I don't think he's 100% back from the injury. It's a little scary, because he tore his ACL really early last season (maybe even the preseason.) I've always been a big Maynor fan though.

    • Dean

      Rondo was putting up over 11 assists a game while Pierce and Terry were shooting 28 % If he a couple of players that could shoot 50% or better he would put up 20 or more. He's scoring better and always up there in rebounds .. He has improved every year and money in the Playoffs…C's need a SG and Bigman.

  • dslack

    Basically agree with everything you write, Ryan, but the streak isn't totally against subpar competition — Miami and LAC (even without Paul) are good-to-elite teams.

    • jmei

      Miami was a great win, but the Clippers without Paul are a bad team. They've lost 7 of the last 9, including losses to bottom-dwellers like Toronto, Washington, Portland, and Phoenix (one caveat: those were all road losses).

      • The Cardinal

        Uh, how are the Clippers any worse off (theoretically) than the Celtics with out Rondo and Sullinger? Everyone keeps down playing the success of this team right now because of this or that (aren't most teams dealing with injuries to key players this time of year?), but those same "bad" teams were beatin' the crap out of us before now! Just sayin'… there will always be excuses one can use to see the glass half empty or half full, but your eyesight should be your guide.

        • jmei

          OK, so the Celtics without Rondo but with better motivation and ball movement are a 48-win team (maybe a 5th seed, if given an entire season) while the unmotivated Celtics with Rondo were a 42-win team. Does it really matter? The current roster has a ceiling of, what, making it to the seventh game in the second round? That's not worth delaying the inevitable rebuild. There's just not enough talent to get past Miami or any of the Western Conference contenders, and I have a hard time seeing them beat the Knicks or Bulls (with Rose) in a seven-game series. In past years when they made semi-miraclulous runs, the team did have the talent, but just underachieved during the season (understandable, given the high number of veterans and the slog of an 82-game regular season). You can't say that this year.

      • tbunny

        Paul is a top 5 player for sure but the Clippers have a TON of talent.

  • Mencius

    Spot on, Ryan.

  • Celtics Philippines

    How about this? –> http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=b8rp8… a 1st rd or 2nd rd picks could sweeten the deal. C's can waive billups so they can save cap space for 2013 free agency. If C's will rebuild, I hope they help KG and PP get another chance at championship.

    • jmei

      One problem is that your trade leaves the Clippers with no backup point guard to Paul and only Willie Green and Jamal Crawford at SG. That's dangerously thin depth for a title-contending team. Something like this would work better, with a 1st round pick coming to the Celtics as well: http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=a4ye9

      • Phil725

        Am I the only one who really doesn't want DeAndre Jordan? I think he's a solid 5 in the NBA… I also don't want him for 11m for the next 3 years while I'm trying to rebuild. He's limited on offense and defense to the point that he can't be anything more than a role player, and 11m is too much for a role player unless you're going for it all, which the Cs won't be if they deal KG/Pierce.

        I wouldn't hold out for him in a KG deal, and I certainly wouldn't trade Pierce for him if I can get Bledsoe for KG in a separate deal.

        • jmei

          Just because he can't make a jump shot doesn't make him limited on offense. He got four alley-hoops in the first half last game even with CP3 out. He's developed a decent lefty hook. He averages 3.8 offensive rebounds per 36 minutes, which is right up there with Sullinger (3.7) and Omer Asik (3.9). He could develop into a Tyson Chandler-like player if he continues to improve his defense, as their offensive numbers are reasonably close already (Chandler: 67.3% shooting, 4 ORB/7.5 DRB, 12.8 points, 1.1 blocks per 36 minutes; Jordan: 60.5% shooting, 3.8 ORB/6.6 DRB, 13.1 points, 2.1 blocks per 36 minutes). Yeah, his contract is pretty sizable, but that's the going rate for young, promising bigs these days (remember, he's only 24).

          • Phil725

            Part of my questioning his value is questioning just how promising he really is. This is his fifth year in the league, and his numbers have been pretty steady throughout. Guys don't often just blossom in their sixth or seventh year in the league, especially on defense.

            On offense, he will always be limited by free throws. Part of Chandler's development into a dangerous PnR weapon is that he's bumped his FT% up around 70%. It's not even a good idea to foul him when he beats you now. Jordan is under 50%, and is so bad now that he can't play fourth quarters because it's mathematically correct to just hack-a-Jordan. You would need a PG like Rondo or Paul to get the full effect of him offensively, but even then, what's his ceiling? Alley oops are cool, but they still count as 2 points, and you aren't going to average more than one a game. Offensive rebounds are good, but we're talking an 11m dollar center who isn't a great defender.

            And if we're counting on him developing into Chandler; Chandler's defense is where most of his value is. He's the best PnR defending big in the league. His solid offensive game is what makes him a borderline MVP candidate. It's his defense that makes him an all star in the first place. I don't see Jordan ever being an all star quality defender.

            If we assume that the next few years are a wash no matter what, you have to look at how you'll be building in 3 years. Jordan will be a 27 year old center with an 11.5m expiring contract. You're probably looking at dealing him there since he'll be asking for even more. Call it another reason to hate the Green deal if you want, but the Cs have already used their 10m dollar flyer on a contract that sticks around throughout the rebuild. You can't have two of those guys.

          • Celtics Philippines

            You said it yourself that Jordan needs a PG like Rondo. You just hate him IMO.

          • Phil725

            I definitely don't hate him. My point was that he needs an elite passing point guard, and even then he's still very limited offensively. What if the team wants to trade Rondo down the line? It's a very realistic scenario. Even building around Rondo, you're gonna need a lot more pieces, and you're already out of max cap room territory if you take him on.

            He's the type of guy that I would've loved to add to the team during this past offseason for the run to the title this year (man he would've fit really well now that I look at it.) Going forward though, you have to be extremely conscious of salary and what you're getting from the guys on long term deals. That's why the Green deal was so crazy. What I'm getting from Jordan, unless he blossoms late in his career, isn't enough to allow the team to grow to a title contender. He would help hold them afloat at a ~35 win pace so they got bad draft picks, and block cap room for anything else.

            It's not hating on Jordan, it's hating on any 11m dollar role player for a rebuilding team. Go for it all, or go for the basement. 35-40 wins is NBA purgatory.

          • dasein

            Agree with Phil. Jordan for that kind of money is a pretty bad use of cap space.

        • Banner18

          Agreed Phil. I would have to give Perk the advantage over Jordan; Pound for pound, that is.

  • Montrossdad

    So rondo was the problem with the celtics offense? Ludicrous.

    Celtic fans continue to be far too invested in players personalities and bs narratives

    Sad but true: If rondo looked a little more like scal he would be treated more like him too…

    Rebuild should have started last season.

    • Josh_5

      Tell ya what. When the C's reel off a couple more wins and end the season with a better win % than the 18-20 record they were WITH Rondo, I hope you come to your senses.

    • D-Funnk

      I don't think the way Rondo looks has anything to do with it? He doesn't seem interested in playing some nights and the team struggles mightily because he has the ball on every play and doesn't want to facilitate. He will put in a triple double on national tv and then disappear when the C's play the Raptors or the Bobcats.

      Overall, Rondo is a wonderful player and we are lucky to have him on the team. However, if you can move him for greater consistency or to make the team better in the long run, you have to consider it.

  • The Cardinal

    One more think – check out what "our friends" at ESPN Boston have put together this morning regarding the individual and team numbers during the recent win streak (of course, there will still be those that scream "small sample size" <sigh>).

  • Phil725

    I've posted the gory salary cap numbers in the comments here before; 26m (about half the cap,) tied up in mediocre role players in 14-15. 15m in role players plus Rondo's max deal in 15-16. There's no opening to sign anyone or get a good draft pick before those years end because those players aren't bad enough to finish with the worst record. As someone who has enjoyed watching these last four games as much as any this year, I don't wanna see this end so unceremoniously… but still, this is the last chance to salvage 2 or 3 seasons down the road. I don't think a lot of people understand how messy this is about to get.

    The ultimate domino here is Pierce. Given the recent rumors, we can assume what type of package you're looking at for KG. I'm still wondering what Pierce would bring back. I thought Toronto was the most likely trade partner before given their want for a Pierce like player, but they already jumped the gun and got the more expensive, worse version (though to be fair, they didn't have to give up much.) Could Pierce bring back a lottery talent like Harrison Barnes? Would trading him for a lesser asset to clear a contract like Brandon Bass be worth it?

    Ainge needs to juggle two alternate goals; clearing bad contracts, and getting assets back to help rebuild. These are my favorite two deals:
    http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=apr7w… (I'd take Butler instead of Odom if necessary, but I really like the idea of dumping Terry here, and I think LAC would welcome it. Terry is valuable to a team gunning for a championship.)
    http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=aa2nw… (I assume GS turns this deal down, but that's why I'm curious what you could get for Pierce.)

    After those trades, the team would have Rondo, Bledsoe, Bradley, Barnes, Sullinger for the future. And Bass, Lee and Green as salary that would still need cleared (though I suspect that Ainge doesn't think he needs to clear Green yet. Washington, I'll take Ariza for him, he's got tons of potential! call me!) Lee is a good enough player that someone should take him for a 1 or 2 year contract, but Bass you may be stuck with. Is there a better way to go nuclear? I would seriously investigate flipping Rondo for some kind of big guy at a later date, and maybe that's when you can dump Bass. Still, it's a sad road we're about to go down, I suggest everyone enjoys the games the team is playing now.

    • tbunny

      Don't want Odom no thanks. The team would be crazy to trade for Odom. He can only play in LA and Miami. He would HATE Boston.

      • Phil725

        He probably wouldn't even board the plane. His contract expires after this year though.

        The Cs would have to pay Butler an extra 8m over Odom. I don't care since it's not my money (and the Cs won't be able to sign anyone next year either way,) but that does factor into these trades.

        • tbunny

          I think the C's would have to get DeAndre Jordan for any trade with the clippers to make sense.

          • Phil725

            I commented on Jordan above; 11m is a ton for a center with spotty defensive numbers and serious offensive limitations. He fits on that team, but I don't see a fit for that huge salary here. What are you going to do with Rondo/Green/Jordan making 34m for 3 years? It's probably more than 34m since you're running out of chances to dump the Bass/Terry deals, I don't wanna give up picks to get rid of them. That's to the point that it limits even minor deals you can make to improve. Then you probably have to pay him even more if you want him to be a part of the team you actually want to contend with in 15-16 and on.

            I really think the best addition you could make to a KG/Bledsoe swap is shedding one of the long term contracts the Cs have. I'd rather do that than take on Jordan's contract. I think LAC would rather take that contract than give up Jordan too… I wonder if they'd take Bass instead of Terry, JET fits there a lot better. I'd really love getting rid of Bass though.

  • Jay

    This team wasn’t playing like a contender when Rondo was healthy, but when KG and Pierce are traded or retire after this season, Celtics are done for years. It’s fact, Celtics fans need to be realistic, and stop assuming this team can contend post-Garnett era.

    In the NBA u need superstars to contend. You need superstars like Lebron, Garnett. Durant, Kobe, Pierce, Wade, Rose, Melo, Dirk, Westbrook, Nash, Duncan, Paul, Rondo, Parker and Kidd to contend. Unfortunately Garnett and Pierce are aging to superstars on the decline.

    What value can the C’s get for aging players? Not much, get real Celts fans and beat writers. So right now ride the ship and be grateful for the greAt yrs Garnett, Pierce, Rondo and Allen gave fans.

  • The Cardinal

    So Kidd and Duncan are aging but are still superstars while Pierce and KG are just aging? Okayyyyy…

    • nycalldayz

      Yea, I strongly disagree. Okayyyyyyy…

    • Chris Lee

      I assume you're either not a Celtics fan or you're a delusional Celtics fan. Any person in their right mind wouldn't make dumb comment like that. Kidd and Duncan can't stay healthy if their lives depended on it. Now KG and Pierce are aging superstars, but they can't carry the scoring load as much anymore. That's what happens when u get older, your game regresses.

      Kidd and Duncan have a better supporting cast of players around them. KG and PP have an incosistent supporting cast around them. Okayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy…

      • Josh_5

        Are your guys's okays in the tone of Lil Jon?

  • hydrofluoric

    What's the incentive to hurrying into rebuilding? If we claim the only goal that matters is a title – how many teams have won or gotten super far by 'rebuilding'?

    - Miami lucked into their first title by getting Shaq. They got their second via LeBron without 'rebuilding.' The latter came during 'no man's territory,' when they were a fringe playoff team.

    - Lakers lucked into the Pau Gasol deal while they were also in that no-man's territory that's supposed to be so bad for rebuilding. And in 1996 they signed the best player in the game outright as a free agent to get them 3 of those titles.

    - We lucked into Kevin Garnett (albeit he was more inclined to come after we got Ray Allen by sucking, so there's that).

    • hydrofluoric

      - The Mavericks won with a transcendent superstar having one of the greatest ever playoff runs, and it took them 13 years and the perfect storm. Oh, and they were never in a rebuilding state during that time.

      - The Spurs have maintained a decade of dominance and have been able to rebuild on the fly over and over and over. Didn't need to bottom out to do it. But they did need a once-in-every-five-years player to do it, plus David Robinson on their roster at the time.

      - Oklahoma City hasn't won a title yet, but it's possible that they will somewhere down the line with Kevin Durant. They're the most compelling case for a rebuild, but you'll notice that they drafted Kevin Durant.

      In the end I'd rather have a non-title, playoff team that's fun to watch and is a threat (like Denver or Atlanta). than a 'blown up'/'rebuilding project' team like Charlotte or Toronto. I'm all for riding this horse 'til the end, title-contending or not.

      • Ryan DeGama

        Yeah, your last point is totally legit. I don't share your opinion on it but many others would…

    • Rav

      Miami was "rebuilding" when they got Lebron. Instead of attempting to prop up their post-title teams by trading for additional good players, they set it up by signing/trading for players such that everybody's contract would expire in 2010, leaving them with enough salary cap space to pursue multiple superstars. It just so happened that the collection of expiring contracts they assembled was decent enough to sneak into the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference.

      The Mavericks never needed to dismantle their team because they were never in decline; same for the Spurs. A "rebuild" here refers to dismantling a team that, while having been a contender of late, is now on the downhill (as opposed to continue adding role players in the hope that the team is still good enough). It's only the Lakers that support your point.

      When 2 of your top 3 players are 35+ yrs old, you can be sure you're unlikely to get better. If you're going to head into decline, why prolong it?

  • ghoulbuns

    These trade ideas suck ass. You mean to tell me you’d rather have punks like butler and Barnes than see pierce and KG retire as Celtics? You would really be ok with seeing those two in different uniforms playing AGAINST US? None of the players you’ve mentioned have a better chance of leading US to a championship than our current core. I cant believe you Boston fans are such spineless chumps.

  • Kevin

    I hate this talk, its depressing. I’ll take this group and see how far they can go. I love watching this team develop cohesion and now fight to dismiss the naysayers who gave up as soon as Rondo went down. I want KG in green for the rest of his career and same for PP. If either is traded I will be pissed. These are our players and I want to win or lose with them, rather than lose with nomads on expiring contracts to hopefully be ok in future years. There is no guarantee that a free agent star will come to Boston and the draft is no guarantee either. How did Jordan look with the wizards…or Montana with the chiefs….Pierce is a Celtic, keep it that way! KG loves this team and this city, give it back to him rather than booting him out the door. I’m disgusted…

    • Banner18

      Have to agree with you there. As fun as it is to watch these games, it has even become more entertaining seeing this squad progressively mesh since Rondo went down. NO REBUILD.

  • KillerGymRat

    I think people have really short memories when it comes to rebuilding and some startling bad ideas when it comes to trades. Unless you love middling in mediocrity. Please tell me that last team that blew it up and won a title within 3 – 5 seasons. If at all. It just doesn't happen.

    If your post proposes that nothing short of titles is worthy of the rafters, then we're talking about a rebuild that in the new NBA economy, can and will take time.

    The value that is continuously overlooked with KG and PP is their leadership, experience, and how they can impart that to the younger players around them. What good is bringing in a bunch of young, talented, but inexperienced players who will need to spend years learning how to win? And may never figure it out? Memphis anyone.

    Will Sullinger (assuming his back doesn't derail his career) develop faster getting beat up as the C's only low post threat…or by being mentored by one of the greatest players, and one of the best defenders of all time? The same goes for Melo or any other young players.

    The same with Pierce. You telling me Bradley and Green don't have a chance to progress faster with that kind of experience to learn from. San Antonio is a great model for longevity. They know Tim Duncan's experience and leadership is what allows them to swap the other parts. If they ever got rid of Duncan they would fall apart fast…unless Parker is now able to hold them together (which I doubt).

    Take a look around the league and you will see a bunch of teams trying to compile young and athletic players to organically grow into a champion. How is that working out for them? Let's take a look at who is actually winning titles?

    2012 Heat – composed of 3 superstars who had to lose a finals to learn to win
    2011 Mavs – composed of all-stars and experienced veterans who also had to lose a finals to learn to win
    2010 Lakers – repeat as champions (see below)
    2009 Lakers – composed of all-stars who had already won a title and/or recently just lost in the finals
    2008 Celtics – composed of 3 superstars and experienced vets who had years of playoff experience
    2007 Spurs – I think you get the point

    Trading Pierce and KG would pretty much insure this team flouders in mediocrity for years.

    It's no secret that OKC made a huge leap by adding Kendrick Perkins and clearly not because of his play. Because he brought the mental attitude and toughness of a winner. Which is something Durant and Westbrook and the rest didn't have. They knew experiene was what they were missing.

    How many times does a team have the gift of two future hall of famers to impart wisdom. It's priceless.

    • spade25

      Agree 100% with the logic. However, since both PP & KG are gone in a year or two, max wouldn't it be prudent to bottom out now and start to rebuild sooner than later. The worst thing to be in the NBA is mediocre. With Pierce & KG, you are a cusp playoff team with no real shot at winning it all. (Assuming there aren’t other moves made to bring in frontline talent) That mean no high draft picks and due to the contracts on the books, no real shot at bringing in a vet looking to latch on with a championship team. The smatter move (IMO) is to bottom out now. Get picks & young talent and figure out the vet roles later. There are a bevy of older players in the league that wouldn’t mind tutoring some of the younger talent for the right contract, like Chauncy in LA tutoring Chris Paul. But in order for that to seem attractive, you have to have that transcendent star on your roster. Nothing the C’s have right now fit that bill. Granted, there are going to be some cold winters for the C’s in the upcoming seasons, but that’s the only way to really build, unless you are the Lakers and have the appeal of Hollywood as a selling point.

      • KillerGymRat

        I appreciate your response and totally get your thinking, and you might be right. Though when you factor in all the circumstances I personally don't see what bottoming out now accomplishes if it means trading PP and KG.

        In the short term you've sold the heart and soul of the franchise and possibly erroded your fan base. With the players available you are not going to improve. In fact I'd argue with a Bledsoe or whoever we can get, sans PP and KG the team does worse. Who is the go-to scorer? What is the teams identity? Most teams and the league fall into this category and you can spend many frustrating seasons trying to find your answers. And more importantly who is tuning in to see this team without Rondo, Pierce, and KG. By next season you won't see the C's on nationally televised games. So it doesn't help with revenue or ticket sales.

        In the long term you're in that unenviable position of being too good to get a top 5 draft pick, but not good enough to be a serious threat for a deep playoff run. You have no stars (save for maybe Rondo – who might demand to be traded at that point) so you are not a destination top free agents want to play. You're basically in basketball hell with the majority of the league.

        IMO the only reason to trade PP or KG is for a legitimate star. If we can get Josh Smith or a Kevin Love…as much as it pains me, you pull the trigger. Anything short of that you are just losing star power and the real draw for anyone to come and play in Boston.

        I think a better approach is to clean house of the middle men (Bass, Green, Lee, Terry) and try and find a team with a disgruntled star or somebody who needs to free up cap space or the luxury tax that is willing to take a pool of assets in return. It will be tough since they all signed multiple year deals and you may have to do a series of deals to get it done. But they are the expendable ones. Even just trading them for short term contracts is a better approach. You want to keep the consitent mentality of toughness and this teams identity. People learn that from KG and PP.

        Trust me, you trade away KG and this team goes to pieces. It will lose its toughness, it's fire, and it's defense first identity and will middle with all the other Atlantas, Portlands, and such.

        I absolutely agree you have to have a transcendent star…but you get such a star either by being one of the worst teams in the league and lucking out in the lottery, or by trade or free agency. Neither option is realistic at this point, so again, what do you gain by trading away our future hall of famers now?

        • Danny

          Best post Ive seen on here in days, exactly what Im thinking. Blowing it up isn't a some bonafide solution, youre going to lose casual fans, TV money, and a host of other things. Basketball is a business, stars make money, Forbes rated the Celtics the NBAs fourth most valuable franchise. No way the owners give up our star power for role players and mid first round picks in a weak draft. Groubeck would fire Danny before he allowed that to happen. Losing KG and Pierce alienates your casual fan base.

    • ghoulbuns

      Agreed 100%

  • KillerGymRat

    I think people have really short memories when it comes to rebuilding and some startling bad ideas when it comes to trades. Unless you love middling in mediocrity. Please tell me that last team that blew it up and won a title within 3 – 5 seasons. If at all. It just doesn't happen.

    If your post proposes that nothing short of titles is worthy of the rafters, then we're talking about a rebuild that can and will take time.

    The value that is continuously overlooked with KG and PP is their leadership, experience, and how they can impart that to the younger players around them. What good is bringing in a bunch of young, talented, but inexperienced players who will need to spend years learning how to win? And may never figure it out? Memphis anyone.

    Will Sullinger (assuming his back doesn't derail his career) develop faster getting beat up as the C's only low post threat…or by being mentored by one of the greatest players, and one of the best defenders of all time? The same goes for Melo or any other young players.

    The same with Pierce. You telling me Bradley and Green don't have a chance to progress faster with that kind of experience to learn from. San Antonio is a great model for longevity. They know Tim Duncan's experience and leadership is what allows them to swap the other parts. If they ever got rid of Duncan they would fall apart fast…unless Parker is now able to hold them together (which I doubt).

    Take a look around the league and you will see a bunch of teams trying to compile young and athletic players to organically grow into a champion. How is that working out for them? Let's take a look at who is actually winning titles?

    2012 Heat – composed of 3 superstars who had to lose a finals to learn to win
    2011 Mavs – composed of all-stars and experienced veterans who also had to lose a finals to learn to win
    2010 Lakers – repeat as champions (see below)
    2009 Lakers – composed of all-stars who had already won a title and/or recently just lost in the finals
    2008 Celtics – composed of 3 superstars and experienced vets who had years of playoff experience
    2007 Spurs – I think you get the point

    Trading Pierce and KG would pretty much insure this team flouders in mediocrity for years.

    It's no secret that OKC made a huge leap by adding Kendrick Perkins and clearly not because of his play. Because he brought the mental attitude and toughness of a winner. Which is something Durant and Westbrook and the rest didn't have.

    How many times does a team have the gift of two future hall of famers to impart wisdom. It's priceless.

  • Dean

    Actually if Doc is smart ,He brings KG and PP off the bench. That's what these other teams want them for. Start all his young guns and when they have trouble bring them in . Saves them for 4th quarter and rested for the playoffs. I think that way nothing has to be done till next year and they still have enough talent to make a run at the Title'

  • ultimatejedi

    Everything you're saying is true, but this entire piece comes off as smug hindsight. Where were you over the offseason, Ryan? I don't recall reading anything you wrote stating you didn't believe bringing the crew back for another rodeo was a bad idea.

    You're right; you just come off as smug. Pointing it out.

    • Ryan DeGama

      I did support bringing the group back for one more year, both at the time and through the season (did I suggest any differently above?). But given the changes to the equation (the Rondo and Sully injuries) is it not reasonable to draw new conclusions about this team's prospects? Really don't get your point here about hindsight.

  • pabs

    what about this trade?? http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine

  • pkizzy

    this trade would fix all of our problems!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=bb25r

  • jt nichols

    the team may not win the title, but it sure is fun watching them TRY. what I'm seeing is what Doc has tried to get them to do all season—RUN. Trade Lee and Green? to me they look like they're pretty damn good, and getting better as we watch…

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