It's a tough time for Boston Celtics fans. They can either accept the complete demolition of the franchise they've come to recognize as their own or accept the slow and steady process that rebuilds it. Regardless, it will probably hurt for quite a while.
The first step, as many levels of pain require, is acceptance. Paul Pierce, the captain and highest-scoring member of the franchise, will not be around next season. Kevin Garnett, the emotional leader and defensive catalyst who helped hoist banner No. 17, will also be absent. That's not easy.
But with loss, one must also consider the possibilities of future gains. President of basketball operations Danny Ainge has initiated a rebuilding process that will likely eliminate him from popularity contests yet turn his franchise into a possible contender within the next five years.
Nobody likes saying goodbye to his or her team's main players. But holding onto futile hopes can prove much more costly. Celtics Nation knows the perils of clinging to stars (perhaps more than any fanbase), considering it suffered nearly 15 years of mediocre post-Larry Bird basketball.
Ainge would rather retire than develop another abysmal era of basketball in New England. Logistically stacking his assets in order—compiling nine first-round draft picks over the next five years—has been a great start. Now he must avoid repeating Celtics' history and acquiring wasteful free agents.
This list of awful Celtics free-agent acquisitions should serve as a reminder to Ainge during the upcoming crucial years.