The Boston Celtics are undeniably in the twilight of their contending years, if not already past them. You might see some organizations hold on to their aging stars as a matter of principle.
But not this Boston Celtics team—not with Danny Ainge at the helm.
Boston's general manager told the Boston Globe in January: "If we get the opportunity to make a trade that will help our team, we'll do it."
He went on to explain that he wasn't proactively attempting to trade anyone, but only after a lengthy recount of watching the 1980s Celtics descend into irrelevance rather than trading Larry Bird, Kevin McHale or Robert Parrish in an effort to rebuild.
Apparently, Ainge isn't interested in watching history repeat itself.
It's hard to imagine Boston parting with point guard Rajon Rondo, the team's youngest star. He could be added to a package that brought back a bona fide star in his prime, but it would have to be quite a return for Ainge to even consider it.
Paul Pierce may have the greatest trade value of the Boston's older assets, but moving him could be viewed as a serious injustice by the Celtics' loyal fanbase.
Both Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, however, are in the last years of their contracts and would be desirable rentals for teams in the hunt for a championship.
Going into next season, the Celtics are poised to have cap room they could use to surround Rondo and Pierce with younger talent. That also means they're unlikely to take on any long-term contracts for Allen or Garnett.
The Dallas Mavericks might have the assets to make a run at one of the two veterans, and if the Clippers miss out on J.R. Smith, they should still be in the market for a shooting guard to replace the injured Chauncey Billups.
With a couple of trade exceptions to even out salaries, Los Angeles might be able to make a run at Allen. But, other than Eric Bledsoe, it has few prospects left to offer after betting the farm on Chris Paul.