Despite last night’s victory over the Toronto Raptors, things are grim in Boston. Rajon Rondo joked darkly that the W signaled the longest winning streak of the season for the Celtics, and there’s growing talk that the front office could be looking to shake things up in dramatic fashion.
With a 5-8 record, an old roster and growing doubts about the squad’s ability to compete for anything meaningful this season, GM Danny Ainge says that he will not hesitate to pull the trigger on a trade, even if it means getting rid of any of the fabled Big Three.
From the Boston Globe:
Celtics vice president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said [Wednesday] he would consider a major move involving the Big Three if it would help foster the team’s transition to the next era. The Celtics began the season with eight losses in their first 12 games and there has been increasing speculation Ainge would blow up the team’s veteran core of Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce if the team were not competitive this season. Ainge said he would consider trades if they would net younger talent. He has maintained he does not want the franchise to go through a 10-year span of insignificance as it did following the departures of the previous Big Three of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish, who remained with the team past their primes.
“First of all it’s a different era,” Ainge said. “I sat with Red (Auerbach) during a Christmas party (in the 1990s). Red was talking to Larry, Kevin, and myself and there was a lot of trade discussion at the time and Red actually shared some of the trade discussions. And I told Red what are you doing? Why are you waiting? “He had a chance to trade Larry (to Indiana) for Chuck Person and Herb Williams and (Steve) Stipanovich and he had a chance to trade Kevin (to Dallas) for Detlef Schrempf and Sam Perkins. I was like are you kidding? I mean I feel that way now. If I were presented with those kind of deals for our aging veterans, it’s a done deal to continue the success … After those guys retired, the Celtics had a long drought,” he said. “But those (types of fruitful trades) aren’t presenting themselves. In today’s day and age with 30 teams in the NBA, 15 teams know they have no chance of winning a championship. They are building with young players. It’s a different era that we live in. It’s easy to say conceptually but you have to always weigh what are real opportunities.”
Danny Ainge’s brutal candor should not surprise anyone. He has always been able to separate sentimentality from the cold, hard reality facing his team (see: last season’s shocking trade of Kendrick Perkins.)
Changes are coming to the Boston Celtics one way or another. Ainge and company just have to figure out if they’re willing to blow this whole thing up now, or wait until the summer when Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen’s deals come off the books.
The end of an Era is nigh.