After posting the second worst record in the league during the 2006-07 season, the Boston Celtics realized they needed to make big changes to their roster. The draft seemed promising as Greg Oden and future scoring champion Kevin Durant were entering the league, but the Celtics suffered bad luck and received only the 5th overall pick. Team captain and all-star forward Paul Pierce, who is known for his loyalty in an era full of money-hungry superstars, was losing his optimism and requested a trade if the organization couldn't bring in additional talent.
Celtics GM Danny Ainge responded to Pierce's concerns and made a series of big moves that drastically changed the team's culture overnight. The Celtics drafted Jeff Green and immediately combined him with Wally Szczerbiak and Delonte West in a trade with Seattle for All-Star Ray Allen and a second round draft pick. With fans already excited about having two All-Stars on the roster, Ainge made another big-time move and traded Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff, and Sebastian Telfair to the Timberwolves for former MVP Kevin Garnett.
The 2007-08 season was historic as the Celtics ascended from the bottom of the league and won a championship. Many believed they could win multiple titles, but injuries plagued the Celtics in subsequent years and they were never able to find consistency. Now, with contracts expiring for Garnett and Allen, the Celtics once again need to make moves to save the future of the team. Here are some choices the Celtics must make.
1) Break Up the "Big Three"
For five years, Allen, Garnett, and Pierce have successfully led the Celtics. The veteran players understood the importance of team play and sacrificed aspects of their own games for the good of the organization. This past season may have shown the biggest sacrifice from Ray Allen. Following his ankle injury, the young Avery Bradley came out of nowhere and provided stellar defense and a nice offensive boost for the battered Celtics. When Allen regained his health, he requested to come off the bench, allowing Bradley to start in his place. Since that move, the former All-Star was not his usual self. Although he still provided clutch shooting, it was clear he had lost explosiveness and defensive ability.
It is now time for Allen to make the ultimate sacrifice and realize he must move on. His contributions to the Celtics have been invaluable, but at his age he just can't provide the team with the defense they need. Many teams will be interested in picking up Allen, and his three-point shooting will provide a nice boost off the bench. Avery Bradley has proven he deserves to start for the Celtics and the young player has many successful years ahead of him, so replacing Allen will not be hard.
The next change to the big three will be the hardest Boston has to face. A true competitor and team-oriented player, Kevin Garnett has clearly put his heart and soul into every game he's ever played. When it was clear the Celtics were going to lose in Game 7 against the Heat and Doc Rivers took out his stars, the look on Garnett's face made any sports fan want to shed a tear. Although the game was basically over, Garnett did not want to leave the court knowing it might be the last time that he played with this team.
When it was clear the Celtics were going to lose in Game 7 against the Heat and Doc Rivers took out his stars, the look on Garnett's face made any sports fan want to shed a tear.
Clear from numerous interviews and his intensity on and off the court, Garnett wants nothing more than for his team to be successful. His performance in the playoffs alone is enough to land the 36-year-old significant offers, but the Celtics need to start thinking about the future. Garnett's leadership inspires even non-Celtic fans, but if he suffers another injury the team will be in serious trouble.
Contrary to Allen and Garnett, Paul Pierce still has a few more years as a Celtic left in him. The veteran knows no other team and will play his entire career in Boston. Although he is not the scorer he used to be, Pierce is a symbol of the Celtics organization and will help the team in various ways on and off the court.
2) Allow Rondo to assume role of leader
During the 2008-09 season, Rajon Rondo emerged as a star, providing precise passes that gave energy to the Celtics' veteran lineup. Despite gaining attention across the league and earning numerous awards, Rondo bought into Rivers' philosophy and quietly managed his rise to stardom for the good of the team.
Although many consider Rondo the Celtics' top player, he never accepts that role and continues to refer to the trio of Pierce, Garnett, and Allen as the "Big Three." The 2011-12 season illustrated Rondo's ability to bring out the best in every player and will the Celtics to win. Although Pierce will still be a Celtic, he needs to let Rondo lead. The young guard represents the future of the organization and will be their key player for years to come.
Accepting Rondo as the Celtics' new leader will make it easier for the team to part from the big three and look ahead. With him as a starting point and more salary space after letting go of Garnett and Allen, the Celtics put themselves in a nice position to begin rebuilding.
3) Make the most of the draft and free agency
Following a career season, Brandon Bass opted out of his player option. He already stated that he would love to go back to the Celtics but understandably wants a bigger contract. Bass was a huge part of their success as he provided them with consistency through all of their injuries. With the potential loss of the majority of their team, Bass would give the new Celtics some much-needed additional leadership and needed scoring.
For an added presence in the paint, Chicago’s Omer Asik would be a great pick up. The seven-footer would fit into Rivers' system perfectly as he is an excellent defender and rebounder. With Rondo running the court, Asik will be able to develop his offense and has potential to grow into one of the league's premiere centers.
With two first round picks, the Celtics need to make the most of the 2012 draft. An option would be to deal their picks in an attempt to move into the top five and pursue a player such as Harrison Barnes, whose scoring ability will make him a nice option at the forward position behind Pierce. If they decide to keep the 21st and 22nd picks, Boston should go after Fab Melo. Although he doesn't provide the best offense, his shot blocking and rebounding ability will help the Celtics tremendously as it fits well into Rivers' defense-friendly system.
If the Celtics make smart moves this offseason, which Ainge has proven he is capable of doing, the team's future looks like it can be successful. The big three provided Boston with years of success, but their age has hindered their ability and the organization must keep the future in mind. With Rondo running the offense, obtaining the right players to play with him will bring the Celtics success for many years to come.
Fan Hub Action
Michael T Carr May 16th
Another good article, Craig Lowell.
Charlie Lobosco May 1st
This is a very compelling story because Mr. Collins is a very passionate, tough, intelligent, athelete taking on some additional responsibliity to help others as…
Scott Cohen May 1st
Charlie.. very well said.. he does have guts
Scott Cohen May 1st
but it shouldn’t require guts. .like you said it’s nobody’s business but his own
Hisham Zameeth April 30th
best player ever…..
Kareem Musa Mayowa April 29th
We don’t need to be hopeless about the situation bryant his. Because even david villa situation also up to the level of his own to…
Maritess Lim April 28th
I still believe in KOBE’s power…… He is still the best…… He will make it possible no matter what……
mimi_aragon84 April 28th
I feel no pity for him. First of all, it is EAGLE, COLORADO, not Eagleton, secondly he enjoyed success and adulation from fans from 2003…
May 16th, 2013 12:13 PM
May 20th, 2013 9:09 AM
May 16th, 2013 9:45 AM
ALL TIME FAVES
April 16th, 2013 12:15 PM
April 9th, 2013 11:57 AM
March 1st, 2013 8:37 AM