2012 NBA Free Agents: Celtics Must Break Up Big Three This Offseason

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistMay 1, 2012

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 06:  Kevin Garnett #5, Ray Allen #20 and Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics react in the fourth quarter against the Indiana Pacers on January 6, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Indiana Pacers defeated the Boston Celtics 87-74. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Boston Celtics fans, take a long look at Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce this postseason.

It's more than likely the last time you'll see the Big Three sporting Celtics green.

Garnett and Ray Allen are both set to hit free agency this year and it remains unlikely both will return. Unless the Celtics go on a deep postseason run and prove they are still legitimate contenders in the East, I can't imagine why the Celtics would bring both back.

The Celtics look like they might be in trouble early in the playoffs. Already trailing the Atlanta Hawks in the series after losing Game 1, they'll now have to avoid falling into a 2-0 hole without Rajon Rondo, suspended for Game 2 after bumping a referee.

That's a hole they might not be able to climb out of and it could provoke Danny Ainge to begin the rebuilding—or retooling, for you optimists out there—process.

Sure, if Garnett and Allen would each accept one-year deals to return for a final run, the Celtics would probably make that happen.

But I doubt either player would do that. Garnett is going to get serious contract offers if he doesn't retire—the Brooklyn Nets are said to have interest—and Allen has already rejected the idea of signing for just one year.

Regardless of what happens, I would at least kick the tires on Garnett if he doesn't retire. While I wouldn't expect him to replicate his strong 2011-12 season (15.8 PPG, 8.2 RPG), he's still capable of doing battle on the block and providing steady, if not spectacular scoring.

But Allen is likely done in Boston. From injury concerns to being brought off the bench in a sixth man role, I don't envision him returning next year.

It was a good run while it lasted, but the era of the Big Three is coming to its close.

 

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