For the last five years the Boston Celtics have been among the top tier of the Eastern Conference. in fact they created a modern day big three that rivaled the old big three that roamed Boston in the 1980′s. For 10 years Paul Pierce was Boston’s main scoring option that was until General Manager Danny Ainge pulled off two trades that brought perennial all stars Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett to Causeway Street.
Year One of the new big three saw Boston win its first NBA titles since 1986. Two years later they were back in the championship only to fall in seven games to their longtime rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers. Last year the Celtics were purely outmatch by the Miami Heat who had a big three of their own that included Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James. This season however things have been like the stock market, slightly up and down. Now why is that?
For starters Pierce, Allen and Garnett are all getting up their in age, they are still great players but some say are shells of their former selves. As of tonight the Celtics are 14 and 12 putting them in second place in the Atlantic division. Last season’s trade of of Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson for Jeff Green and Nenad Kristic destroyed team chemistry. Green will miss the entire season after heart surgery and Kristic is playing in Moscow. The Celtics are missing a presence down low in the post. Garnett doesn’t have the same up and his step he had in his younger years. Jermaine O’Neal is no longer the force he was in Indiana and newcomer Brandon Bass is more of a jump shooter than a down low presence. Point guard Rajon Rondo has been a bright spot but has also been very streaky. Rondo was the subject of many trade rumors this off season and recently has been involved in another involving Lakers forward Pau Gasol. Many in Boston despise the idea but in the opinion of this writer, this deal could save the season.
For a reason unbeknownst to many in the game, Danny Ainge seems to dislike Rondo and doesn’t plan to rebuild the team around his 25 year-old star. Gasol would bring the Celtics a big man that they so desperately need. Losing Rondo would be a blow to Boston indeed but they Celtics could use second year player and former Texas Longhorn Avery Bradley as it’s point guard and have Gasol play center along with Pierce, Allen and Garnett. The objective is to win now since Allen and Garnett are free agents after the season. With Gasol helping Garnett down low the Celtics could legitimately win the title, with Rondo as talented as he is, the Celtics are no more than a fifth-seed in the playoffs who will be lucky to get past the first round.
It will be an unpopular move in the City of Champions but if the Celtics want to get back to the promise land, this is a move they need to make. With the trade deadline approaching Ainge will be working the phones and if we have learned anything about Ainge its that he is not afraid to pull the trigger. Look for this among other moves that Boston will pull at the deadline, only time will tell but something needs to change if the 17-time champions are to get that elusive 18th title.