It has been a slow and painful devolution of the vaunted Big Three in Boston.
Kevin Garnett has been relegated to Doc Rivers' "five-five-five" mandate, where he plays in five minute spurts. Ray Allen is beginning to resemble a sixth man in spite of his shooter status—his defensive lapses hurt the team more than his yo-yo shooting.
Teams go at Ray-Ray in crunch time because they know he lacks the lateral movement to stay in front of his opponent. The captain, Paul Pierce, is wrestling with his own descent into mediocrity and it shows in his up-and-down play.
What's even more telling is Doc's tendency to use stop-gap measures to disguise the demise of KG, Ray and Paul.
There is a saying that familiarity breeds contempt, and the Celtics are living it at the moment.
The offense is stagnant and Rondo's frustration with the offense is resulting in a high number of turnovers for the mercurial point guard. Boston is staring at their reality when they look at the Toronto Raptors or the Cleveland Cavaliers.
There is no quick fix when the divide between contender and non-contender seems to be shrinking for the old men in green.
CSNNE.com is reporting that both Pierce and Ray are on the trading block along with Rondo; I doubt, however, that Danny would get rid of Rondo without a replacement for him. Therefore the most likely scenario is Pierce or Allen being moved.
As much as we would like to see Pierce as a member of the Boston Celtics, it may be inevitable that he will be moved. Remember, Cowens and Robert Parish were traded, and they were a crucial part of Boston's halcyon championship days.
Knowledgeable Boston fans are already bracing themselves; they may kick and fuss a little bit, but they know that it must be done.
Realistically, the C's should move Allen. Moving him would make room for a quicker transition back to being contenders.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is stating that the buyout will never happen. However, Odom’s play may necessitate this move because he does nothing for team chemistry.
Yes, the storm clouds have gathered, and Danny Ainge and ownership are teetering on the murky edges of "Bah-ston Har-bah" while contemplating the team's future. Not even the prognosticators can pull them back from the edge.
One thing is clear, however: Boston must decide how low they want to go with the trade deadline looming on the horizon.