Why Boston Celtics Blowing Up Paul Pierce-Kevin Garnett Core Makes No Sense
Fans prefer action, especially when they are frustrated or disappointed. "Something must be done" is the reigning sentiment.
The Boston Celtics find themselves in a situation where many fans are dismayed, feeling let down after an offseason of free-agent signings hasn't improved the team. This was supposed to be one final push at a title, with Jason Terry, Courtney Lee and Jared Sullinger filling whatever roles had held the team back previously.
The new squad disappointed, trundling around the .500 mark and looking worse defensively. Then, Rajon Rondo suffered a season-ending ACL injury. Now, Jared Sullinger's also out for the year with a back injury.
Though the team has been playing better since Rondo left the lineup, the die is cast. There is no puncher's chance at a championship this season. This is the end for the KG era, in terms of contention.
So many fans, and possibly Danny Ainge, wish to "blow it up." The problem is that "blow it up" is a rather vague command. The assumption is that the Celtics should engage in some sort of drastic rebuilding process, one that involves jettisoning Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
I understand the appeal of trading either right now. The Celtics are going nowhere and can get some value for aging veterans.
But consider this: Is the return on any feasible trade really worth that much? If your team is getting worse and the contracts are clearing up soon, why not just wait that out?
Boston fans might hate to hear this, but Garnett and Pierce aren't claiming a great deal of trade value. The former is 36 years old and the latter is 35. Some team would gladly take either player, but probably not at the cost of a young, rising star.
KG is notching some of the lowest numbers of his career in terms of rebounding percentage, assist percentage and true shooting percentage. Pierce is having his worst true shooting year since the 2003-04 season. These aren't the superstars we've come to know, and most GMs know it.
The most obvious way to get better in the NBA is by bottoming out and stocking draft picks. It's how Boston compiled enough value to swing the trade for Garnett in the first place. It's also what the future looks like, eventually.
In 2015-16, the Celtics have less than $20 million in committed salary. If they buy out Garnett in 2014-2015, the books could be fairly open in that season as well. Financial room is coming.
What isn't coming, in all likelihood, is some young savior in return for Boston's vets. This is likely to go the way of New York's Patrick Ewing trade. You exchange an old star for marginal value and end up in the same place you were headed anyway.
Garnett claims the most trade value between he and Pierce and also claims a no-trade clause. That whittles the options down significantly.
There have been rumors about trading KG to his L.A. home for Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan. That seems the stuff of Boston fan forums.
In the meantime, remember that Kevin Garnett says that he "bleeds green" and that Paul Pierce wishes to "retire a Celtic." Call me a sentimentalist, but perhaps that should matter more than wringing every last drop of value out of this aging roster.
Boston is headed for the lower tier for a season or two, miracle notwithstanding. There's nothing wrong with playing these contracts out and starting anew from there.
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