NBA Trade Rumors: 4 Reasons Boston Celtics Must Dish Kevin Garnett Now

Bryant KnoxFeatured ColumnistFebruary 29, 2012

NBA Trade Rumors: 4 Reasons Boston Celtics Must Dish Kevin Garnett Now

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    It's been a good run for the Boston Celtics' Big Three, but despite their instant success five years ago, the team has begun to look its age, and if a move is going to be made this season it must start with Kevin Garnett.

    When the Boston Celtics acquired both Garnett and Ray Allen before the 2007-08 season, we all knew that the core group would only have so much time before age began to trump experience and the team would have to rebuild once again.

    With GM Danny Ainge saying that breaking up the Big Three this season is a possibility, the time has come to thank Garnett for his services and send him on his way.

The Team Needs a Shakeup

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    The Boston Celtics have struggled this season, and it's possible the window may be shut for the team to win big with its current core group in place.

    Paul Pierce has played well this year, especially when playing without Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo. However, the team just hasn't been consistent enough to think it has a shot at competing with the top teams out East.

    Having entered NBA All-Star Weekend losing five straight and boasting a record of just 15-17, the Celtics are in dangerous territory when it comes to even making the playoffs this season.

    The defense is still good, but despite Allen's incredible shooting touch, the team ranks 26th in the NBA in scoring and is averaging fewer than 90 points per game.

Expiring Contract

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    Expiring contracts are like gold around the NBA trade deadline.

    Kevin Garnett is in the final year of his deal—a deal that has him making $21.2 million this season.

    Whether or not Garnett would walk come free agency is speculation at best. However, if the Celtics don't trade him now, they risk losing him for nothing and you the opportunity to bring back good pieces that teams are looking to ditch for financial relief.

    While his production is enough to intrigue any team out there looking to compete, his contract is something that every team looking to shed cap this offseason will drool over the closer we get to the March 15 deadline.

Age

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    Thirty-five doesn't have to spell the end of a player's productivity, but don't forget that Garnet has more miles on him than most 35-year-olds in the NBA.

    Entering the Association straight out of high school, Garnett is already in his 17th season in the NBA—the same amount as the league's oldest player, 39-year-old Kurt Thomas.

    While Garnett is still arguably the vocal leader of the Celtics, his play on the court has looked older and slower this season than it ever has before.

    But the truth is that this isn't all about Garnett.

    The Boston Celtics are one of the oldest teams in the league, and it has much to do with the core group that has been put together. While they don't need to go out and start from scratch, it's time to start getting younger. 

    The draft is one way to do it, of course. However, remember the youthfulness of a 30-year-old Garnett and a 31-year-old Ray Allen pairing up with a 29-year-old Paul Piece? They got it done in their primes, and a similar lineup of veteran players in Boston could do it again.

Health

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    For Kevin Garnett, health goes hand in hand with age.

    Early in his career, Garnett was an example of a big man who could play nearly 82 games a season while averaging almost 40 minutes a game. Since 2007, however, Garnett has averaged just 67 games per year and hasn't played in more than 71 games in a season.

    Garnett has had a relatively healthy season thus far and has even averaged nine rebounds and nearly 17 points throughout the month of February.

    However, heading into the second half of a condensed NBA season could spell trouble for a player whose track record with injuries has only gotten worse since his arrival in Boston. Already down to just 30 minutes a game, if the injury-riddled seasons continue, the coming years are likely to see less and less Garnett on the floor for whichever team he ends up with.