NBA Trade Rumors: What Are the Boston Celtics' Big Three Worth?

Tyler EmkenContributor IIIJanuary 19, 2012

Ray Allen might be older, but he can still play
Ray Allen might be older, but he can still playElsa/Getty Images

It looks like the gig might be up for the Big Three from the 2008 World Champions Boston Celtics.

After an unimpressive 5-8 start, Danny Ainge says, according to The Boston Globe, that he is willing to trade away Boston's big three for younger talent.  This comes two days after Adrian Wojnarowski's report that teams have called the Celtics about trading Pierce.

Frankly, it's time.  It started to be apparent late last year that this core could no longer compete for a title.  The Celtics' age has been brought into sharp relief during this strange, grueling NBA season.  As Celtics, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen's days may be numbered.  However, these three guys can still be beneficial to other NBA teams. 

I love KG to death, but Garnett has looked the worst.  At this point, the 35-year-old Garnett is a shadow of his former self.  Garnett has logged a lot of NBA mileage on his legs.  Simply put, it looks as if the guy can barely jump.  However, that doesn't mean that he would be worthless on a NBA squad.  He is still a fiery competitor and great defender, and he motivates his teammates.  He would thrive on a young team in need of veteran leadership and toughness.  Garnett could still be an effective bench player at this stage of his career.  As a Celtic, however, Garnett needs to be the first to go. 

Paul Pierce is probably the hardest one of these guys to evaluate.  He is definitely out of NBA shape, but much of that can be attributed to early season injury.  It is hard for older players to get back in shape due to how compacted the NBA schedule currently is.  Teams are often playing back to back to back games.  Maybe I am too naive, but I believe that Pierce is the least likely of the three to be traded.  Pierce has been with the team his whole career and is the youngest at 34.  I think Pierce has a couple more seasons in him as a starter.

Now, let's talk about the crown jewel of the three.  Ray Allen is the oldest of the Big Three at 36, but he might be the most valuable.  He has been shooting over 50 percent from three point land this season, making him an asset to any team that needs ranged shooting.  He still has one of the best shooting forms ever and has been good at avoiding injury as he ages.  With a limited role as a long range assassin, Allen could easily play into his forties.  Squads looking for a few quick three-bombs off the bench would be smart to make a deal for him.

It will be a sad day if and when the Celtics split these guys up, but it will be for everyone's benefit.  The Celtics' title window has closed with this core group of players.  The Celtics will be able to bring in some young talent.  Hopefully, the Celtics do these guys a favor and trade them to a contender.  It would be sad to see three of the NBA's best languish with inferior teams to end out their careers.