Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Proceed With Caution

The hottest topic in the NBA right now is which direction the Boston Celtics should decide to go in after Rajon Rondo's season ended this past weekend with his torn ACL. The answers so far seem to be pretty black and white: they should either "blow it up" and look to trade Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and some of their other aging pieces for young talent and draft picks OR just keep the team as is and bank on Rondo being ready for training camp in October as he says he will be. Maybe both ends of the spectrum are just not that realistic.

Keeping the roster as is would put a ton of pressure on both Garnett and Pierce as leaders and even ball handlers, not to mention a bump up in minutes. It doesn't seem likely that just nothing can be done. So the focus flips to what type of trade value their two hall of famers have. For the fun of it I will be posting trade rumors as well as my potential trade opinions leading up to the deadline... but here are some real reasons and facts why KG and The Truth probably are not going anywhere:

1. Garnett has a no trade clause in his contract, meaning he would have to approve any trade he is involved in. As we saw in Minnesota Garnett is more than loyal, and it would be tough to see him bailing on Boston. Looking even deeper, the title contending teams that Garnett may even consider would not have the young commodities to offer the Celtics without destroying their own team. Conversely, any team with those young players and picks to offer for Garnett would surly be a team that Garnett would not approve going to.

2. The only way Garnett possibly agrees to a trade to leave the Celtics would be if they move Pierce before hand, or in the same deal. Now this is possible, and although Danny Ainge will listen to offers, the Celtics REALLY don't want to trade their captain that has been on the roster since the 1998 draft. He is the face of the franchise, the fans love him, and 34 will be raised up to the legendary rafters when he retires. To get personal for a moment, as a 25 year old life long fan, Pierce identifies with Celtics basketball to my generation. Although it "makes sense" to trade him, unless the Celtics get a bundle of talent in return, it is the right thing to do to let him finish his career in Boston. I can't picture him in another uniform. I want to attend "Paul Pierce Night" at the Garden to see his number be retired with every game he played being for the same team.

3. This is the NBA, young talent and draft picks have an intense premium placed upon them. Garnett and Pierce could be significant contributors to any team for a couple of seasons, but those teams are not going to be willing to part with a player that can help them for the next 10 years, or a draft pick that could turn a franchise around. Trades that involve a salary dump happen all the time, even trades that involve trading a star in their prime happens on occasion when the right package is coming in return. But trades like fans are asking and hoping for the Celtics to complete are just not going to happen.

Boston may fall right in the middle of where fans want them to go, by keeping the core intact and waiting for Rondo, while also making some additions to build around what they have the rest of this year. J.J. Redick rumors are still swirling, and Ainge would still love to add a shooter of Redick's caliber to the Celtics. Because of the Rondo injury it would not be surprising to see the Celts try to either fill the point guard void by adding someone like Delonte West, or making a trade for someone like Kyle Lowry. I could just as easily see Doc Rivers being happy bumping up the minutes of Leandro Barbosa (primarily), along with Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee, and Jason Terry.

This season is not down in the dumps as many fans and members of the media play it to be. Rajon Rondo is a fantastic player to watch and he puts together unique stat lines on a nightly basis. But he is overvalued as a winner. What are the Boston Celtics two biggest wins this season? The win at the Knicks earlier this month and the win at home against the Heat this past Sunday. Two games that Rondo did not play in, two games in which the team showed their true heart and won with Pierce and KG's leadership.

So all is not lost, the conclusion to this season is still to written. Rondo will return next season. But right now this team is still 100% confident that they can hold on to a playoff seed, and who knows what they are capable of if they head into the post season hot...

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