Dynasty, as defined by the dictionary, is a series of members of a family who are distinguished for their success. In sports, we use it to define teams that have dominated for almost a decade with multiple championships and significant victories.
Indeed, it is a very powerful word and reserved for only the best of the best, and these Boston Celtics were supposed to be among that special group.
Not long ago, the most celebrated franchise in history added to its record 17 championships, and there was no question things would be similar over the next five years. Yet, here we are 15 games into the abbreviated 2011-2012 season, and the same core group is making it feel much longer than that.
We've heard the same criticism before, that this team is too old, slow and rusty to compete. Yet they still refused to give in, and for the most part last season, the Boston veterans proved people wrong.
Then came a spanking by the team in South Beach led by their very own Big Three.
No, these Celtics are no dynasty, but they're certainly not done yet. Here are my reasons why I think Danny Ainge shouldn't blow things up just yet.
The last time the NBA went through a shortened season due to a lockout was the 1999 season. That year, three of the top four teams in the league were also the oldest. That wasn't exactly expected since teams were playing back-to-backs nearly all the way through.
Also, the New York Knicks, the eighth seed in the East, went on to play in the championship. It's not like the Jeff Van Gundy-led Knicks showed any signs of being elite throughout the year.
With so many injuries already becoming an issue, really anything can happen down the stretch.
Sure, the Celtics look pretty bad (all six wins against worst of the NBA), but if they can just manage to sneak into the playoffs, Doc Rivers and Company really have a shot.
Any championship contender would love to have a serviceable shooter like Ray Allen on their team. The key is, if that team is really a contender, then a trade wouldn't result in any decent picks.
Imagine trading Ray Allen to the Los Angeles Lakers or Orlando Magic. At best, you get a mid- to late first-round pick, and no team will be willing to move down in what's supposed to be one of the better drafts of the decade.
Now, a team like the Charlotte Bobcats or Washington Wizards, who are already in contention for the lottery, would have no use for a veteran player with an expiring contract. Boston would be stuck with a bunch of players that would need a good amount of time to develop before becoming serious playoff contenders again.
There's no question that Rajon Rondo is the future of the team, regardless of all the rumors we've become accustomed to hearing over the last two years.
He's had his problems with Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers, but there's not many point guards in the league like him. As stated in the previous slide, Rondo would be stuck with a bunch of rookies and no-namers on the roster with Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce gone, and he certainly wouldn't like that.
Now in the prime of his career, Rondo will need a much better supporting cast.
So, I live in Boston, MA, and it's really not a comparable city to the bigger markets in the NBA like New York, LA and Chicago. City of champions? Sure, but if you're not on the team that is currently winning, then there's not much to it.
Yes, Boston will have significant cap space next summer regardless of whether or not a trade goes down, but why would anyone want to play there with Rajon Rondo and a bunch of unproven prospects? Dwight Howard and Deron Williams, the two biggest names on the market, are looking to win now.
Williams would obviously not join when there's already a point guard on the roster, so Howard, I'm sure, would not go onto another team with an unknown future. Meanwhile, teams like the Dallas Mavericks and New Jersey Nets certainly are more attractive with better shots at a ring.
Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett already come off the books at the conclusion of this season, so the only piece that would make some sort of sense is moving Paul Pierce. However, he's already been injured this year and moving him to a team without much practice time wouldn't be so beneficial.
If Ainge waits until the summer, he might be able to get more value for the team's captain. So, by keeping that core group together, Boston still has a shot at playing for something this year, while also saving cash for the summer.
Despite all the troubles they've had so far, you've got to think that the Celtics' experience has to kick in at some point. These guys are all natural leaders, and it's really hard to see them all letting this thing go down the drain.
Even though they've already won together, a true champion never loses that passion for winning, and I can see the Celtics maybe saving their run for later in the season. The East has always been weak at the bottom, so getting into the playoffs shouldn't be an issue.
Other than that one season before Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen arrived, Boston has always been a perennial contender in the East, and it would be sad to see them step down to mediocrity again.
Rebuilding is inevitable, but at least allow Paul Pierce to retire with the team he started out with. It's rare these days that a player completes his entire career with one team, and Pierce has that opportunity. As long as he and Rajon Rondo are both around, I don't see Boston being a team below .500.
Instead, Danny Ainge should draft some young talent and get them some tutelage under one of the greatest Celtics of all time. It would be the most appropriate way to let him out.
In the end, however, it's nothing more than just a business...