With a little more than a week left until the trade deadline, teams are beginning to finalize which players may be on the move.
After beating the Los Angeles Lakers in six games to win the NBA title in 2008 and losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in seven games in the 2010 NBA Finals, the Boston Celtics are no longer considered a championship-caliber team. They have been pushed to the bottom of a list of Eastern Conference contenders topped by Miami and Chicago.
The Big Three that Celtics general manager Danny Ainge put together in 2007 are now reaching their final years. Many see Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett as having little left and Paul Pierce as being in decline. Their only star is Rajon Rondo, but as the Big Three reach their final years, many wonder whether Rondo can continue to perform at an All-Star level.
As of late, reports have surfaced of possible trades involving each of the Celtics stars.
Chris Broussard of ESPN reported that the young guard may be on the move, but the rumors were denied by coach Doc Rivers. "In all that time we did not talk once about any trades. There was not one single thing about Rajon Rondo that crossed my desk," he said.
At the moment, Rondo appears to have a home in Boston. Unless other rumors surface within the next week, he'll be wearing green for the rest of the season.
Ray Allen was a main reason for the Celtics' sustained success, but the aging veteran is definitely on the decline. ESPN had announced that Ainge is willing to split up the Big Three. If so, Allen may be the first to go.
Looking to trade him for youth, the Celtics are looking for a willing partner who is in dire need of the wisdom and talents that Allen brings to the table.
After the injury to Chauncey Billups, the Clippers have entered trade talks looking for a shooting guard. Jamal Crawford of Portland was supposedly offered to the Clips for Eric Bledsoe, but they declined and have their sights set on Allen instead.
The Celtics are interested in Bledsoe, and a deal could be reached as rumors fly under the radar. Don't be surprised if Allen dons a different uniform following March 15.
Garnett is another veteran who has little gas left in the tank. As another member of the Big Three, he may well find himself in different colors following the deadline.
One player that the Celtics seem interested in is Josh Smith. The power forward is incredibly talented, and if the Celtics can manage to send KG to Atlanta (along with other pieces) and land Smith, they should immediately pull the trigger.
While Pierce is part of the Big Three, he is the most likely to stay in Boston. Unlike the others, Pierce is still playing with All-Star talent. Even if the Celtics have the option, they should keep Pierce.
Since being drafted in 1998, "The Truth" has devoted his heart and soul to making the Celtics a championship-caliber team. The least they can do is reward him by letting him finish his career in Boston.
Despite what rumors may be tossed around, it is highly unlikely that Pierce isn't on the Celtics next month.