What if the Boston Celtics Hadn't Acquired Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen?
Before the 2007-08 season, the Boston Celtics went out and got their star player, Paul Pierce, some much needed veteran help.
First, they traded for Ray Allen of the Seattle SuperSonics on draft night. And then three days later, they picked up Kevin Garnett from the Minnesota Timberwolves.
But, what if the Celtics hadn't traded for those two All-Star veterans and continued to build around their young talent?
Well, one thing's for sure: they definitely wouldn't have won a championship yet. However, they probably would be widely considered one of the league's up and coming teams.
Who knows if Doc Rivers would still be the head coach. But since the Celtics went 24-58 during the 2006-07 season and he didn't get fired, he probably would still have his job.
Pierce likely would have been dealt to a contender for a combination of prospects, expiring contracts, and draft picks.
Al Jefferson, who was shipped to Minnesota in the Garnett trade, would have replaced Pierce as the franchise player. The 6'10" forward would have emerged as the third best big man in the Eastern Conference behind Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh.
In the 2007 draft, the Celtics selected Georgetown forward Jeff Green with the fifth overall pick before trading him for Allen. However, if they kept the pick, they were rumored to have taken Chinese forward Yi Jianlian.
So, the starting lineup for 2007-08 could have consisted of Ryan Gomes and Yi at forward, Jefferson in the middle, and Delonte West and Rajon Rondo at the guard spots.
And the bench may have included the likes of Wally Szczerbiak, Kendrick Perkins, Tony Allen, Leon Powe, Gerald Green, and Sebastian Telfair.
With a team full of inexperienced youngsters, the Celtics would have most likely finished the year with one of the five worst records in the league.
And maybe they would have finally got lucky and won the 2008 draft lottery.
After considering both Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley, they hopefully would have elected to take Rose with the top pick even though they already had Rondo running the point.
The Celtics simply couldn't have passed up the chance to boast an Al Jefferson-Derrick Rose duo to build around.
Telfair would have likely been traded with the arrival of Rose. And the underachieving Yi and Green may very well have been out the door as well.
Eventually a few veterans would have been added to complement the core of Jefferson, Rose, Rondo, Gomes, West, or whoever they picked up along the way.
The Celtics would have improved quite a bit in 2008-09 and possibly have battled for a playoff spot.
But, it's impossible to predict just what kind of moves general manager Danny Ainge may have made if he never acquired Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. We'll never know.
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