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What Now? Analyzing The Future of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett

 

A long draining season has come to an end. There has been very little time for reflection in the interim, since the future holds so many questions for the Boston Celtics. An injury to a franchise player and underwhelming performances by a revamped supporting cast turned the 2012-13 campaign into a relative disappointment.

Looking ahead, there will be plenty of dominoes to fall in the 2013 offseason for Danny Ainge, but he must deal with the largest ones right away. Paul Pierce is first on the docket. What seemed like a relative certainity just months ago, that Pierce would be back for one final run next year, is now being questioned by many in Celtics circles. Kevin Garnett has wisely tied his fate to Pierce’s and to add even more intrigue to the mix, Doc Rivers has not assured his front office that he will be back next season.

All of this creates quite the chess board for Ainge to navigate, as he tries to balance staying competitive and building for the long-term. Turning the page on two of the greatest Celtics in history will be tough when it happens. The question is whether it should happen yet.

To break it down, along with the possibility of other roster moves, I joined Rich Keefe on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston yesterday to dissect these questions. Will Pierce and KG be back? Should they be back? Who else on the roster is a candidate to be sent packing? And what does the rest of the offseason hold for the Celtics? You can listen to the podcast by clicking on the play button, or download the mp3 by clicking on the arrow.

 

  • Swissflix

    Becoming a real competitor for championships asap should be the only goal to DAinge. I love Pierce and KG very much, but i don't want to go through the 90ies again, really not. Relevancy is the only thing that should matter to a franchise like the Celtics. Pierce absolutely should retire a Celtics but really, those dino Radja, Pitino, jerome Moiso years were no fun.

    • CelticsBIG3

      True, but like BRobb and Rich said, these guys gave what they were supposed to give. They lived up to their contracts. The blame is squarely on an under-performing supporting cast. Jason Terry made excuses for his poor play all year and gave us what I would say were 2 good games; and when it was far to late in an 0-3 hole to the NY Knicks. When is the last time you remember a guy like Courtney Lee who was a starter for us most of the year be relegated to the pine over night? On the coaching side of things, what happened to the rotation? I'd argue that Shavlik should have seen some time in those first two games early on when Kenyon Martin was killing us down low.

      • Swissflix

        The coaching was an issue. Games 1&2 were lost on fatigue (partially), which i blame on a shortened rotation. Shavlik and Twill should/ could have played. And there was zero creativity concerning sets.
        As for game six, i really also blame Pierce. He kept rushing shots and his turnover after the 20-0 run sealed the game. Not to mention his defense against Shumpert. It was one of the few games where Pierce did not give the game what it needed (passing?).
        Apart from that, i think Pierce might not necessarily become a good sixth man. He's a scorer who needs lots of shots and minutes but he's not a pure shooter. And he needs the ball in his hands.
        So if you keep him and Garnett, there should also be a new franchise player. But how to get that happen.

        • GymRat

          Have to agree with you on the coaching. That 20 – 0 run was incredible, espcially when you consider it happened in under 3 minutes. But Doc rode the same guys the entire quarter and they just didn't have the legs to compete in those final minutes with fresh young guys like Shumpert.

          Pierce's play was poor, but you wonder how much was the overuse of him to end the season. He had one of the highest usage percentages in the league those final weeks. It doesn't excuse the poor decision making and shot selection…but I kind of see him the way it was when Bird blew an uncontested dunk against Indiana in his final playoff series trying to make a statement…the body just wasn't doing what the mind believed it was still capable of.

          The championship ASAP is just not going to happen and is completely unrealistic under the new CBA. Prior you could just throw money around to try and land CP3 or Howard or even Josh Smith. Now you have to be able to sign and trade. There's nothing out there that will put us in the hunt for the title. Even if you release, amnesty or trade Pierce, which would likely lead to KG and Doc leaving as well, and with no cap room puts you in the lottery with at least 2 years before you can afford to add any serious pieces.

          My personal opinion is you keep Pierce and KG together for one final season, and you focus on using their veteran skills to develop guys like Green, Sully, and possibly Bradley. With Rondo back you're going to be in the playoffs and who knows you might be able to sign a vet or two like a Kenyon Martin or an older amnestied player who gives us the edge we need.

          After watching Indiana beat on NY today it's obvious that a lack of rebounding cost us the season and the series. Those guys can't shoot worth a damn, but they own the boards and get 2 – 3 shots every possession. If you add some serious rebounding it takes the pressure off of the shooters to have to light it up every night. If we had a Reggie Evans or possibly even is Doc played Shav we wouldn't have watched the Knicks get multiple shot attempts nearly every possession.

          I'd argue it wasn't Pierce's turnover that sealed the game. It was only an 8 point lead and still with about 4 minutes to play. That was plenty of time and you can't realistically expect to score 28 straight points. The real problem was we didn't get an offensive rebound the rest of the game, and split the defensive rebounds. You can't give good teams multiple possessions when you're a jump shooting team.

          • elroz

            I would say that not having a PG hurt the team more than rebounding. Though with Sully and RR together, both would have been good.

            This team is now a young team, and having KG and PP with these guys is a must next year. They just will not rely on them all the time, with the young ones playing.

          • check12check

            ya know, I like the idea of a Celtics team with Shav and Sully on the floor. that would be a scary rebounding combo

          • happy

            Dude well said…. Why do tgese fake ass celtics fans keep pointing the blame on vetrans getting old.who the fuck gets 17 rebounds 3 ganes in a row….. Pierce and kg played with minimum help and they got abused. On top of that we had no point guard and keep in mind we still have no real center!! You cant just keep filling the missing pieces with pierce and kg. When the bench stepped up we played well but by then it was too late. Keep pierce and kg and add a fucken center and watch the difference. And rondo will be back and green finally got the message that he has to step up and do his thing. I think well be good next season. Use the vetrans! Dont abuse them!

        • John

          Please – it all starts with talent and you need one or two of your best players in their prime – 5 -6 years vets. When you three best players are all over 35 you have major issues. I don't want to be that team that is good enough to be a 7/8 seed and end up drafting in the 15-17 range each year. So if you can trade Paul for a relavent player do it and see where the chips fall with KG and Doc. If no value for Pierce then you ned to shuffle the Courtney Lee, Jason Terry Brandon Bass players to get more offensive help. As for the end of the bench hoping we can improve the China League pick-ups which apart from TWill were no help in the playoffs.

  • Art

    I must admit I don't want to let go of the KG Pierce era. I want to chalk this season up to injury and chemistry issues. I say give them one more chance, but Ainge has to get someone that can play behind KG and make an impact. The dilema is with both KG and Pierce on the roster the C's can't really afford to bring in a decent impact player.

  • KMART BIGGEST FAN

    just retired already

    • Swissflix

      Kmart – the best number one pick ever.

    • elroz

      K MART is trash…as a person, as a player, and as an artist.

    • Anonymous

      I agree

    • xJx Shikamaru

      Man, before posting or trolling, at least make your grammar correct.

  • snow

    KG and Pierce cannot be the best players on the team. they have to be role players and give the torch to green and rondo like Tim Duncan did with Tony Parker. Pierce should come off the bench which would give him fresher legs.

    • elroz

      I agree fully. Why must they get rid of them if it is not at all clear the team will be better? Pierce playing alongside Rondo would have done much better than this series. KG can give quality 24 mpg and Pierce can play 30 min per game max next season. These guys are not the problem.

      RR, Bradley, T. Williams, Lee, Sully, Bass, Green, (Fab Melo?) are not "old" – these are young guys…but they need KG and PP there. They have a 16th pick this season – the highest they had since 2007. So use it well, or package it with Terry and Crawford to move up or trade.

    • check12check

      I think it could look similar to how the Spurs look too. Timmy may not be the one running everything on that team, but if you take him away that team would be really hurting for someone that does what he puts on the floor. Timmy is still a beast out there, and KG/PP could replicate that effect. I love the idea of PP coming off the bench and torching the other teams bench scrubs.

  • Morpheus

    Danny better get us a rebounding, defensive big and a f**ing back up PG for **** sakes. Danny has to take some of the blame for this as well.

    • Swissflix

      Roy Hibbert! How gorgeous would that be. Together with KG on the floor nobody would score *daydreaming*

    • snow

      I've been looking at this year's draft and with the 16th pick the C's could easily get jeff withey or gorgui dieng who are both fantastic shot blockers and good rebounders. I definitely would like to see them get one of those guys.

  • ghoulbuns

    Goodbye terry, Crawford, resign barbosa…that's it…one more go

  • Wes

    Why does Kelley even have an "insider" guest? Christ, guy wouldn't shut up. Indicative of his knowledge that he thinks trading Pierce and KG together is "possible"…you bet.

  • James

    Keep Pierce and KG for one more season. You have no better options. That along with the improvement in contintued chemistry, the expanded roles for Green and Sully and the return of Rondo should do put this team back in the 50 win range.

  • W2.

    KG starts at the five alongside Sully, Green, Avery, and Rondo.

    The second five feature PP, Bass, Terry, TWill, and a Big (Collins/Zaza/Rookie/Fab Melo)

    And the bench has a swiss army knife full of Lee, Crawford, and Shav. If Sully isn't ready to go, put Bass in the starting five and play Shav with the second group. If Rondo isn't ready……..we are in trouble but…..start Lee and play Avery out of position again.

    Without Rondo and Sully, we will fight for the 7/8 seed. With them we are a 5/6 seed.

    Keep the faith Celtics fans!

    • Swissflix

      I do not see at all why being a fifth seed should be a goal. That is the kind of expectation which led to the signing of Dominique Wilkins in 95. seriously, GM has to come with a strategy. If the best one is without Pierce, so be it.

    • Bill

      If pierce and kg leave I say we fight like hell to get durant out of oklahoma, he already said his favorite played was Larry bird, imagine that it'd be rondo Bradley green sully and kd, and the bench we got Williams Crawford lee bass and Randolph

      • Bill

        Or maybe instead of lee keep terry or get another shooter who's younger with fresher legs,but seriously we need a shooter and a big ass 275 lbs type of center realistically,but thats if kg and pierce stay they should go for Kevin durant or a huge name if they leave

  • http://twitter.com/didonc3030 @didonc3030

    I 'd say let #Celtics built a solid team with PP, KG, and Doc for one bonus run, then all three can retire!!!!

  • Gitti

    If Doc doesn’t come back- that would be so unfortunate- love him!!!
    Bring in Phil Jackson then to coach- he’s amazing too!!!

  • Brian

    Lee suc%$#$#, AWFUL, dump him, same with Terry. Package Lee with Terry and maybe Bass and get something of quality, preferably rebounding, and draft a front court rebounder. Keep PP and KG, develop TW and hope all are healthy ie. Rondo Sully, ect and hope Miami has major injuries! Brian FL

  • Art

    What are the C's chances of getting someone like Al Jefferson, Marcin Gortat or Chris Kaman to help out KG? (assuming he doesn't retire or waive his no trade clause)

  • paceman

    Deal Lee for the best centre available, preferably defensive presence and strong on the boards.

    Start Rondo, Bradley, Green, Sully, KG. Hopefully AB's shot comes back once he isn't at the point anymore. And Sully's progress will be fast tracked by sharing the floor with KG. No clear weakness in this group, assuming the offence is setup to suit.

    Bench TWill, Terry, Pierce, Bass, Centre TBA. Not exactly a young and athletic group, but should still match/beat most other team's second units, especially with PP's all around game. But not if it turns into a track meet!

    I know PP won't like the bench, but it lets us spread the vets, develop the young guys, and hopefully be a lot fresher for the playoffs (at which time the rotation shortens anyhow).

  • LeonGreenAllDay18

    I say def keep Pierce, KG & of course Doc-they still have a lot of balln in them & have what it takes to win. With Rondo, Green, Sully, Terry & a few others we already have-then add a cpl more pieces.
    CELTICS-HORAAH-UBUNTU!!!

    • LeonGreenAllDay18

      Also some say they don't want a 90's repeat retiring of….there was a lot more to it than just that-remember Bias & Lewis (Be Blessed & RIP)-they would have been the center pieces carrying over from late 80's-90's & def would have brung more rings to the Bean while being mentored by Bird & company-there after was just a cloud over Celtics nation unfortunately-then came Pierce……
      Anyways, building around Pierce, KG, Rondo & Green can work & will long as it is done right. This past year can be chalked up as injuries-no excuse but true & they still had a chance to go all the way-i still believe they could've.

  • Dennis Campbell

    Dnt trade Paul give away something on the bench

  • http://N/A Mike Galloucis

    Would anyone in Boston have ever contemplated trading John Havlicek, Sam Jones, Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, or any other all-time great Celtic to another team near the end of their Hall of Fame careers? Of course not! So, why after playing his entire Hall of Fame-bound NBA career for the Celtics would the team demean Paul Pierce by floating trade rumors mentioning his name? Pierce will likely never catch Havlicek to become the Celts’ all-time leading scorer. However he has already passed every other Celtic including “Larry the Legend.” What about the concept of loyalty? That’s a two-way street. Pierce had several opportunities during his remarkable career to leave the Celtics – including going to our arch rival LA Lakers, which play minutes away from where number 34 grew up and went to high school. Each time, sometimes to play on excellent teams and sometimes to play on bad teams, he re-signed with the Celtics. Us Celtics fans might not realize this or acknowledge it until he is enshrined in Springfield after his playing days are over. But Pierce is one of the best, most versatile, most durable, and most consistent small forwards to ever play in the NBA. The Celtics will someday honor Pierce by retiring his number above the TD Garden rafters. We already know that day will come – not a matter of “if,” only “when”? In the meantime, the Celts should sign Pierce to an extension and let him finish his career in Boston. Like Havlicek, Sam Jones, Bird and McHale, Pierce has earned the respect of the Boston fans – no simple feat. In doing so, he has also earned the honor of retiring a Celtic and not having to wear any other uniform during his NBA career. I’ll leave it to someone else to offer their thoughts on K.G., who has played his heart out for the Celtics for six years and been the backbone of the franchise during that period. K.G. is also a future NBA Hall of Famer, but because he played a decade for the Timberwolves, he and Pierce are in different situations and perhaps don’t merit the same treatment. Personally, I’d prefer Pierce and K.G. both finish out their careers in Boston, and with Doc Rivers as their coach. The Celtics and our beloved city could do a heck of a lot worse than keeping these three future Hall of Famers! Boston Strong!

  • Marcia Zerilli

    Watching bulls and heat and I must admit that Ray Allen really did ditch the celtics. He could have really helped. No loyality.

  • Kebocoop

    I think Peirce, Garnett has still got what it takes. I bleed green. Miss u Rondo

  • Bill

    Go for durant if they leave, if they stay go for a shooter and a big center

  • swerf

    C's need rondo

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