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With Rondo out, Garnett/Pierce era in Boston must come to an end

Jan 28, 2013, 12:41 AM EDT

Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce AP

I don’t like the phrase “blow it up” because that implies something rash and destructive long term. Blowing something up leaves a big hole that is hard to climb out of. That’s not how the Boston Celtics operate. They are one of the NBA’s premiere franchises in part because they get the big picture.

But it’s time to turn the page.

The Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce era of the Celtics must come to a close.

When GM Danny Ainge re-signed Garnett last summer, when he went out and got Jason Terry and Courtney Lee, it was with the dream of making another run at a title with Pierce and Garnett as part of the team’s core. They had gone seven games with Miami in the Eastern Conference finals last year, they just wanted to take one more step. Instead this season they have looked like a team that is stumbling.

With Rajon Rondo out for this season with a torn ACL in his right knee, any dream they could find their stride is dead. The already struggling Boston offense is going to get worse long term. If they make the playoffs it will be one and done, despite their defense.

But it’s not just this season — the Rondo injury also basically kills next season, too.

Garnett (age 36) and Pierce (35) already are not young and will be a year older. Following the timeline for return we saw from Ricky Rubio and are expected to see from Derrick Rose, we can expect Rondo back around Christmas — but the guy who comes back will not be the Rondo you are used to seeing. Watch Rubio play and you can see he doesn’t move the same yet, he doesn’t trust his knee the same way, he’s not the same player. That takes time. It’s true of every player you see return from an ACL. It will take Rondo much longer to be back close to his old self.

Boston can’t wait a couple years then try to make a run with this group again.

Turn the page.

That means start looking at trades for everyone on the roster. Everyone. The thought of the Celtics talisman Paul Pierce in a Mavericks or Rockets or whatever uniform seems uncomfortably strange, but it has to be considered. Then the trigger pulled when the right offer comes in. Same for Garnett.

Understand, however, that the offers are not going to be great. Nobody gives you quality young players for old ones, not anymore in today’s stiffer luxury tax world. There is no single home-run trade here, not for the assets the Celtics have one the table. Plus, the Celtics are going to want to bring down their payroll now, not add to it (unless it’s the right player).

Boston, don’t rush into a deal, don’t make big move at the trade deadline to make a move. The offers that will come in first will be the vultures looking to pick clean the team’s carcass, Ainge needs to hang up on those calls.

But eventually, maybe this summer, more reasonable offers will come in. And Ainge has to consider them. The team as currently constructed is never going to win an NBA title or get close to it again. If banner 18 is the goal in Boston — and you know it is — you start the rebuilding process.

This is Boston — you can reload faster than most franchises. It’s a big market franchise with a great history and is a place great players want to be. You can make another deal eventually like the ones made to bring Ray Allen and Garnett in back in the summer of 2007.

But that process has to start now. Remember the past, but don’t hang on to it just for the sake of nostalgia.

Turn the page.

  1. bballhistorian - Jan 28, 2013 at 1:01 AM

    Man these ACL tears over the last 2 seasons are serious.

    Derrick Rose, Ricky Rubio, Baron Davis, Iman Shumpert, and now Rondo.

    Hope Rondo gets well soon, but it looks like last Friday’s game vs the Hawks was the last game he will play with both KG and Pierce on his side. Well, it was a good run…but time for the FIRE SALE!

    • badintent - Jan 29, 2013 at 1:50 AM

      gotta be the shoes !! too thin too light,and the guys are getting bigger,more weight,more stress,etc.

  2. Mr. Wright 212 - Jan 28, 2013 at 1:08 AM

    Naturally you want this, as only they and the Knicks are threats to dethrone Miami lmao

    • eventhorizon04 - Jan 28, 2013 at 1:20 AM

      First – The Bulls are a MUCH bigger threat than the Knicks because they’ve already demonstrated they’re capable beating both the Knicks and the Heat so far this season, and Rose isn’t even back yet. I’d also throw in the Pacers into the mix.

      Second – The Celtics without Rondo are a lot like the Bulls without Rose. Capable of winning regular season games based on defense alone, but unlikely to win a playoff series against any opponent without their focal-point on offense.
      The Bulls with Rose in the 2011 playoffs went to the Eastern Conference Finals.
      The Bulls without Rose in the 2012 playoffs lost in the first round to an 8th seed – they still played great defense, but they just couldn’t score consistently enough to win 4 games.

      • raidmagic - Jan 28, 2013 at 7:54 AM

        Yeah but to be fair Rose went down and it left the team searching. With a year to play together and learn how to play without Rose they have become a much better team. No way they lose that series now.

  3. brotherlove2012 - Jan 28, 2013 at 1:13 AM

    I think it goes further than that. Boston has to do something, when Rose went down, Chicago could wait as their core was still relatively young. It’s not Boston’s case here, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Boston is doomed if they don’t start rebuilding right now. They should clear some cap space and try to snatch a couple of free agents in 2014.

  4. dirtyjerseysports - Jan 28, 2013 at 1:16 AM

    Humphries and Brooks with a pick for KG. That Nets team could win a chip this yr.

    • showtimefolks007 - Jan 28, 2013 at 3:01 AM

      yeh like the nets are so dumb to give up 2 young guys for one almost done player

      • raidmagic - Jan 28, 2013 at 7:55 AM

        This is the Nets you’re talking about

      • deadeyedesign23 - Jan 28, 2013 at 8:17 AM

        I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or not. If you are, well done sir. If not, as a Net fan let me tell you that Billy King would trade Deron Williams straight up for the clap if someone offered.

  5. bigwii - Jan 28, 2013 at 1:31 AM

    KG to the Nets for Brooks a pick and a salary filler would be good for both teams. BK gets a real shot at a ring this year and next year and Boston gets a good young SG that can score to compliment Bradley’s defense and a pick to help build. They should also send Pierce to Memphis for Pierce straight up for Rudy Gay and if they need to throw in a future pick as a sweetener. The Grizzlies would be better this year and get rid of salary for the future like they want to, Boston gets a guy they can build with who can score and who’s still young. Plus Rondo has said he wants Rudy Gay to come to Boston as well.

  6. bjoe23 - Jan 28, 2013 at 1:44 AM

    Who is Kurt Helin to tell the franchise with the most NBA Championships what to do? Everyone always counts the Celtics out, every year. Im not saying they are going to win it all but they always manage to grind it out and surprise people. Listen to your Doc.

    • j0esixpack - Jan 28, 2013 at 10:04 PM

      Hey look, no one likes making fun of Kurt more than me, but let’s not fault the guy for making a common sense assertion.

      I’m not ruling out Pierce and his abilities to serve as Point Forward and win some games, make the playoffs and maybe even do some damage. But a tough road to a Championship just got a helluva lot tougher and Danny Ainge is on record saying he thinks the ORIGINAL Big Three should have been broken up sooner than they were to provide better long term strength to the club.

      It would be far from surprising if he took that outlook in this situation.

    • bozosforall - Jan 28, 2013 at 11:25 PM

      One measly title in the last 25 years…the rest of the titles are ancient and moldy.

  7. halfbaht - Jan 28, 2013 at 1:52 AM

    Ofcourse Kurt wrote this garbage. If you think Ainge is gonna trade Pierce and KG you’re nuts. Pierce and KG will retire in the green.

  8. floridascuba1 - Jan 28, 2013 at 1:56 AM

    KG is out of trade talks as I believe he has no trade clause

    • bougin89 - Jan 28, 2013 at 10:58 AM

      They can negotiate a trade with another team, but Garnett can block the trade. If they really decide to blow it up Garnett is your biggest trade chip, why wouldn’t you look to trade him? In the right situation Garnett may accept a trade to a contender if he thinks it might get him another ring.

      I don’t think Garnett or Pierce gets traded but just because a player has a no-trade clause doesn’t mean he absolutely cannot be traded, the player just has to agree to waive the no-trade clause.

  9. money2long - Jan 28, 2013 at 3:50 AM

    pretty sure KG said he was pretty sure he’d retire a celtic. guess that vision is becoming clearer for him by the hour. i think kg may have a no trade clause in his newly signed contract from the summer. but if they trade pierce, does KG stay? does he commit to staying with the celtics if he sees pierce traded and Kg is then dealt to a good situation, will he sign off on the deal going through if he sees all the important pieces to win a title are no longer in boston? loyalty. KG seemed like he wanted to retire a celtic. i can’t wait to see what transpires down in boston in the next few months after this injury news to their most important player.

  10. knickstape84 - Jan 28, 2013 at 4:07 AM

    event you say the Bulls are much more of a threat than say the Celtics are just like the Bulls because there focal point on offense isn’t there and cant win a playoff series. Look the Bulls are legitimate and so are the Knicks. The Knicks can score with Miami. Chicago can’t… The Knicks are the Heat biggest threat. But a series with the Pacers should scare any team in the East.

  11. gmsingh - Jan 28, 2013 at 7:00 AM

    Let me get this straight: the Celtics just handed the Heat *another* road loss and Kurt suddenly comes to the conclusion it’s time to break up the Celtics?

  12. jr9901 - Jan 28, 2013 at 7:11 AM

    Kurt — for a guy who usually gets things right, you are astoundingly off base here. Idiotically, even.
    Do you know anything about Rondo’s actual injury? No, you don’t. If you did, you wouldn’t stupidly compare RR’s knee to Rose’s — because Rose blew out his whole knee, and was incapacitated from the instant the injury happened — while Rondo played ~12 minutes AFTER he was injured, and showed up for shootaround in the Heat game. These injuries could not be more different, given that they both involve an ACL tear. Rose ALSO tore other ligaments, like the MCL, and had multiple other problems. Day and night, those two.
    December? Wow… you are so off. Rondo will be back for training camp, and he’ll look good doing it.
    And which god-like entity came to give you the otherwise-impossible-to-find secret truth that the Celtics cannot make a run anymore? Why not? The talent is there. Didn’t they just beat the World Champions without Rajon? Rondo had (has) his deficiencies, and besides, adversity has a way of bringing out the best in some people, especially the Celtics.
    Take a rest, Mr. Helin. From this piece, I’d say you need one. Badly.

  13. acdc363 - Jan 28, 2013 at 8:23 AM

    I don’t expect to see any crazy changes. What better way to prove you can play without your best player than beating the defending champs? Pierce and KG will still retire Celtics they just have to wait till next seasob to make another legitimate run.

  14. loungefly74 - Jan 28, 2013 at 8:27 AM

    maybe a minor trade to shore up the PG spot but nothing big. PP and KG will retire as Celtics. Boston is lucky, like the Lakers and Miami, free agents will come…

  15. BigBeachBall - Jan 28, 2013 at 8:54 AM

    celts won’t dump their vets…. they will just keep replacing quality role players with scrubs until the vets decide to leave on their own… example: ray allen…

  16. pellypell - Jan 28, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    I cannot picture Paul in another uniform. I don’t want to picture it. This guy bleeds green and has been a part of the C’s my entire adult life.

  17. sylpkt - Jan 28, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    I think KG would waive his no trade for a good chance at another ring.
    KG (2/$23) to OKC for Perkins (2/$19), Eric Maynor (1/$3) & Perry Jones III (4/$7).

    OKC replaces Perkin’s “leadership” with KG’s “leadership” and the ability to challenge a defense with the ability to jump/shoot/pass.

    Boston gets it’s Perkins back, a young PG that can run a team, an excellent prospect and more playing time for its young bigs.

    • Kurt Helin - Jan 28, 2013 at 7:41 PM

      No way OKC does that, they love the chemistry in their locker room, this is Durant’s team, Westbrook’s team, they are not going to bring in KG and change the dynamic.

    • ghelton03 - Jan 28, 2013 at 10:27 PM

      No way OKC makes that trade. They have perk for alot more years. And, there is no way Ainge would make that deal. His ego is way too big. He could have extended Perk’s contract in the first place. OKC signed Perk for less than what Ainge signed Green. Too much egg on Ainge’s face for that deal to happen.

  18. bougin89 - Jan 28, 2013 at 10:52 AM

    Plenty of teams would be willing to trade for Garnett(he would have to waive his no trade clause) in my opinion but who would want to take on Pierce’s contract? I don’t see Pierce being the final piece on any team. Why wouldn’t the Mavs make a run at Dwight Howard in the off-season instead of taking on Pierce and his $15+ million sallary for next season? What other team thinks Pierce is the final answer and be willing to commit to his $15 million dollar salary next year?

    Heat-no
    Knicks-no
    Clippers-no
    Thunder-no
    Spurs-no
    Grizzlies-no
    Bulls-no
    Pacers-I don’t see it
    Nuggets-no
    Warriors-I don’t see it
    Lakers-hell no
    Nets-maybe I guess, but Celtics would have to take money back.

    • eagles92 - Jan 28, 2013 at 11:57 AM

      Pierce is only gaurenteed like 5mil next season

    • cosanostra71 - Jan 28, 2013 at 1:05 PM

      There were some rumors that the Pacers wouldn’t be opposed to moving Danny Granger. If so they might be a potential landing spot for Pierce, although I don’t really see it happening.

  19. jamesbmckay - Jan 28, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    Writer has no clue. Fix the team, don’t “blow it up”. With RR out and CL in then CL can learn the PG role and be the back-up RR needs. Make PP the Sixth Man and start JG. I don’t really like JG’s inconsistent game but let him show if he can handle the opportunity. PP off the bench for 2 yrs until he and KG retire will be best for the Cs. Bring FAB up and let him start the rest of the season gaining experience. Forget the 8-seed and get into the lottery. Starting 5 – KG, FM, JG, AB, CL bench PP, JS, BB, CW and JT. Find out if JT has anything left and same for BB. Try and trade them or package them but keep AB and JS under all circumstances. Blowing up a team means several years as a lottery team and we do not need that yet as KG and PP aren’t going anywhere and will retire as Celtics. Go Cs…keep losing, go Philly for #8!

    • cosanostra71 - Jan 28, 2013 at 1:06 PM

      If you’re gunning for the lottery, why would you hold on to veterans that could bring back youth and draft picks?

      • jamesbmckay - Jan 28, 2013 at 1:48 PM

        Because KG and PP are going to retire as Celtics and deserve to. I want the lottery for only 1 yr, this one, and never again as it takes 2-3 lottery trips in order to build a team (OKC, Clippers, Cleveland, Kings, etc.). PP would be a great Sixth Man and KG is still bringing it and deserves to go out on top. We need tweaks not wholesale changes. JT can go but who wants him? JC sucks and needs to go, and the others need to either step up or they can go. Go Cs…

      • cosanostra71 - Jan 28, 2013 at 2:51 PM

        “We need tweaks not wholesale changes”

        The Celtics currently have zero chance of contending for a championship. You think one lottery trip is going to change that? And by keeping Pierce and Garnett, they are keeping the team just competitive enough to stay out of the lottery, or at least be the last team looking in. You can’t make the jump from mediocre team to championship contender with one draft pick in the low teens (especially not in one year).

        If the Celtics keep Pierce and Garnett, you’re looking at being the reincarnation of the early 2000s Sonics. Those teams were consistently good enough to compete for the last playoff spot, but rarely good enough to get in. Instead they were stuck picking in the 12-16 range, and they continued along the same way they were. Mediocre.

        If the Celtics trade Garnett and Pierce, they can pick up young assets and likely draft picks. Garnett and Pierce are not getting better, they’re getting worse with each passing season.

        You seem to want to hold onto them for sentimental value alone. Sentimental value is not going to win games. Though, as a Lakers fan, if the Celtics decide to hold onto Garnett and Pierce because of sentimental value, that is perfectly fine with me.

    • ghelton03 - Jan 28, 2013 at 10:13 PM

      That team won’t make the playoffs.

  20. progress2011 - Jan 28, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    JUMP SHIP DOC…..That thang is goin down FAST !!!!

    • bozosforall - Jan 28, 2013 at 8:03 PM

      The first and only smart thing that you have ever said here, promdress1911.

      • badintent - Jan 29, 2013 at 2:07 AM

        ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. The AWOL or MIA Bozo shows up in a C blog.,How’s the Laker 70 win season going for ya ?? Progress,paul and I miss you so much on your Kebi/laker blog rants. Nice to see Kebi is learn how to dish dimes,a.k.a Nash. Yes ,Earl Clark is the New Messiah for Coach Mike. It all makes sense now. Knick Nation says eat my dust.

      • bozosforall - Apr 7, 2013 at 10:23 PM

        The loser mods at PBT banned me…besides, unlike you, I hae a life.

      • Kurt Helin - Apr 8, 2013 at 12:39 PM

        You’re not banned. However, every comment you make must now be approved before it goes through.

    • badintent - Jan 29, 2013 at 2:10 AM

      Yesterday, I reported that Doc takes the New Laker coaching job. Because we ALL know that he must go to get the $$$$$ and that Coach Mike will be swinging by a rope from the big Hollywood come season no playoff end.

  21. ghelton03 - Jan 28, 2013 at 10:09 PM

    C’s not going to trade Rondo. He is young, talented and has a good contract. He’s the kind of player they want to get. KG has a no trade clause. He’s not going anywhere. That leaves Pierce and Sullinger as their only tradeable assets. If there are other players like Bradley, Terry or Bass, that another team might be interested in, the C’s won’t get anything in return. Ainge has really made a mess of things.

  22. badintent - Jan 29, 2013 at 2:01 AM

    Excellent point ! I do remember the game where TJ got nailed on a drive, concussion and this was his second major one so he had bad luck. I liked Jack the best for his drive and dish but his shot was very inconsistant.Bayless had no Clue on how to play any D. So Jose is last man standing. He’ll be the lead actor is “Once upon a time in Mexico II” with Antonio Bandress En fuego !

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