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Kevin McHale says Celtics’ Big 3 may not be done just yet

Jun 11, 2012, 10:21 AM EDT

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The Celtics have a lot of questions heading into next season. Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen will both enter free agency this summer, and the organization will have to decide if they think the core four of those two, along with Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo, are solid enough to contend for one or two more seasons in the Eastern Conference.

While Danny Ainge may be open to the idea, most don’t think that Boston has enough, at least as currently constructed. Add in the fact that Brandon Bass and Mickael Pietrus played key roles in the Celtics’ run this season and are also free agents, and the team has some serious decisions to make.

With the stricter salary cap restrictions put into place in the new edition of the league’s collective bargaining agreement, conventional wisdom says to start to rebuild on the fly around Pierce and Rondo, instead of sinking further of the team’s cap space into aging veterans who might not have much left.

Nothing has been decided yet in Boston, however, and it’s entirely possible that the organization may indeed try for another run with what it’s got. That plan of action wouldn’t surprise former Celtics Hall-of-Famer and current Rockets head coach Kevin McHale who, speaking at adidas Eurocamp in Treviso, Italy on Monday, said that talk of the end of the Big Three era in Boston may be a little premature.

“Not done yet,” McHale said, when asked what he thought of the end of the current era in Boston. “They got to the Conference finals, we’ll see what happens. Those guys have got contracts that they’re going to have to get signed; it has yet to be determined what’s going to happen.  I would be surprised if they didn’t try to put the team together for another run for a year or two.

“If you get to the Conference finals, you’re one of the last four teams. So why would you blow up a team that’s better than 26 other teams in the NBA? I think they’re going to probably ride this out a little bit.”

The reason, of course, is that if it’s a championship you’re after, then what the Celtics have isn’t enough. This run was a nice surprise, but it’s unlikely that this current group will get as far next season. Derrick Rose‘s injury took out the Bulls, the Pacers are young and only getting better, and the Heat are back in the Finals for the second straight season.

Boston ended up as one of the last four teams standing. But it’s a stretch to think the same level of success could be achieved again by bringing back essentially the same core group of players.

  1. truthhurtstoo - Jun 11, 2012 at 10:35 AM

    Their toast… their luck has also run it’s course. Other than perhaps, limping into the playoff only to loss again to the superior HEAT, I don’t see much need to keep these olds folks together….

  2. 1historian - Jun 11, 2012 at 10:56 AM

    This is a good piece. The Celts as presently constituted can’t challenge. Pro sports is a BUSINESS and when your equipment (aka players) shows signs of wearing out you get new equipment.

    That having been said – The Celts gave it everything they had but it wasn’t quite enough.

  3. canehouse - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    So long Boston… you’re done!

  4. kacapaco - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:18 AM

    Come on! We love the ‘big 3’ and are grateful 4 what they accomplished. But we need to be pragmatic and see they are not going to win title anymore. It is time for us ,Celtics, to rebuild around RR, Bradley & two first round picks.

  5. dgbk - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    if the price is right i think they can do both.. i assume jeff green will be back….garnett is a must to resign at the right price because honestly who is better on the market or in the draft where they are pickin…. dont resign allen go after mayo or gordon and draft two decent players… if the celtics can get some1 like jones from kentucky with wat they have and another addition they will be in the hunt again team. they can get younger keep some of the vets and still compete

  6. 20dollardinners - Jun 11, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    It’s sad. It’s like watching the Spurs. They are both so good – but they are just not as athletic as younger elite teams.

    As a fan of the Spurs you wonder when they will get their shot again. Same for the Cs.

    Obviously you have a prolific Rondo, but look at the Nets. In think Derron Williams is the best PG in terms of talent (top 5 at least), but the Nets stink. With Rondo, I wonder how he will fare with players who can’t consistently knock down their open shot.

    • Kansachusetts - Jun 11, 2012 at 4:33 PM

      This is tangential to the Kevin McHale claim, but Rondo doesn’t need three all-stars to win. He has shown that if you can move and if you can catch the ball, he can make you a success. He did it with Chris Wilcox, Brandon Bass and Avery Bradley, and he would have done it with Jeff Green.

      That’s not to say that you don’t need all-stars to go all the way. But the Celtics have one in Rondo. One more could do it for them if they get the right pieces.

  7. loungefly74 - Jun 11, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    McHale has a very valid point. Yeah, not sure why people are screaming the sky is falling with this line up. They took the Heat to Game 7 people! They were not THAT far off of their ultimater goal. I say keep KG…let Allen move on…acquire some key supporting pieces and see what that gets ya.
    The Bulls? well…as a nationally syndicated talk show host said…that team is just not built for the playoffs. and with D. Rose hurting…heck, I like the Celtic’s chances more!

  8. acdc363 - Jun 11, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    I support keeping them both 100%.

  9. patsfiend - Jun 12, 2012 at 12:40 AM

    They need some more athleticism on this team. I thought Pietrus mostly stunk, and not sure why he keeps getting credit here. Time to let him go, and Allen too (respect to Shuttlesworth!) Pick up another good defender… any change they can get Igoudala? There is something to work with here, and they weren’t that far from getting by the Heat (though, admittedly, if Bosh was there the whole time they would have lost in 5.)

    Y’all are overstating the importance of Rose. The Celtics could have taken him out of the game, for the most part, and I would have liked their chances against Chicago, with or without Rose. You can say the Celts fans are homers all you want, but you are just a hater if you are blind to the fact that this team works hard and is close to getting back to the Finals. McHale sent us Garnett… maybe he can work something else out for Boston. Our operatives are all over the league.

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