Two of the most iconic players in Celtics history have to go.
Boston already tried to deal Garnett to the Clippers, but that didn’t happen. Instead, the Celtics shipped head coach Doc Rivers out west, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Once the deal is officially announced, Garnett will still be a Celtic.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that Garnett will be in Boston for much longer. Garnett waived his no-trade clause in order to be a part of the negotiations with Los Angeles, per Wojnarowski. If he were serious about staying in Boston he would’ve invoked those rights to remain a Celtic.
Garnett became less interested in going to Los Angeles once the discussions got going, per Wojnarowski, but that’s beside the point. Now, Boston is pretty much forbidden from dealing him to the Clippers, according to Marc Stein of ESPN:
ESPN source says NBA does NOT intend to budge from Stern's stance & would see subsequent KG-to-Clips deal as connected & thus in violation— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 23, 2013
Garnett has two years left on his deal, but Wojnarowski reports that he is only intending to play for one more. The Celtics have to find some way to deal him elsewhere for that one season. There must be one of the other 28 teams in the NBA that would give up a draft pick or two for him.
But Garnett isn’t the only other player on the Celtics who the team has been trying to deal. Jackie MacMullan of ESPN Boston reports that Boston has also been looking into trading Pierce for a draft pick. Here’s an excerpt from her article:
Team sources confirmed Ainge also has been trying to secure a first-round pick for veteran Paul Pierce, who can be bought one by June 30 for $5 million. The Celtics have been unsuccessful thus far, leaving open the possibility they keep Pierce and his $15.3 million contract and attempt to deal him at the trade deadline next winter, when teams historically look for veteran help and are willing to overpay.
It appears that president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is at least considering a full rebuild. He’s already reportedly dealt away a great coach, nearly sent a star with him and has been looking for a suitor for another All-Star. He needs to put the pedal to the metal and really start dealing these guys.
The Celtics currently have a pair of players they can build around: Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green. Brandon Bass and Jared Sullinger look to be the two future guys on the low block. Avery Bradley could end up being the long-term shooting guard as well.
What should Boston do with Garnett and Pierce?
Boston wouldn’t be title contenders without Garnett or Pierce, but the organization already has a lot of good, young talent. Those five players could all be great players in the NBA one day. The Celtics also have a mid-first-round pick in this year’s draft too, which is sure to land them an impact player for the future.
These are not the days of the Big 3 any longer and the front office has to realize that.
By trading Garnett and Pierce, Boston would be receiving either a player, or players, who could step in right away and make an impact—like a DeAndre Jordan, even though he’s off limits—or draft picks, which won’t hurt either.
The rebuilding process is a scary one. The Celtics aren’t going to be relevant for a few years, but that’s fine. Boston isn’t going to lure Dwight Howard or Chris Paul this summer and the other big names on the free-agent market aren’t expect to be pursued by the Celtics. Not much is going to be done to the roster this offseason if Boston doesn't deal Garnett and Pierce.
Garnett and Pierce are both great players who have done a ton for the franchise and the city of Boston, but it’s time to cut the ties and start moving on. They aren’t going to be Celtics forever. With Rivers gone, there’s no better time than now to start the process.
Ainge already has the building blocks. He just needs to buy the cement.