Boston Celtics: Sorry Everyone, but It's Time To Move Kevin Garnett
With virtually no news coming out about the NBA in recent months due to the current lockout, most fans are turning their attention away from the hardwood, and are instead focusing on other events such as the start of the NFL season or the exciting pennant races in baseball.
And while it is looking more and more likely that the 2011-12 NBA season will not happen, this does not mean that teams, as well as fans, should not be thinking about potential moves that need to be made by their respective clubs before the next season begins—whenever that may be.
The Boston Celtics are a team that could go in many different directions. Though they have been one of the premier teams in the league over the past four seasons, the fact of the matter is they have not had much to cheer about since their championship run of 2007-08.
The team is certainly built for another successful campaign, and some believe that they will be able to contend for another title with their current roster. Yet while this may not be too much of an assumption to make, there is no doubt that the window of opportunity for "The Big Three" is dwindling more and more by the day, and perhaps it is time to shake up the team a bit.
The Celtics chose to invest in their future last season when they traded their defensive anchor, Kendrick Perkins, to Oklahoma City for forward Jeff Green. Many fans were outraged, and felt as though the team basically gave away the title last season by trading away the key ingredient to the Celtics' bread and butter.
Yet this move could prove to be the one of the smartest decisions that GM Danny Ainge has ever made, and the trend of looking ahead to the future should continue for the Celtics moving forward.
That is why they need to trade Kevin Garnett before next season.
Of course, many of those in Celtics Nation would be furious to see their beloved K.G., who has been so crucial to the team's success in recent years, donning any other uniform. But in the long run, it makes so much sense.
Garnett is entering the final year of his contract, along with Ray Allen, and there is no way that Ainge will be willing to give him the money that he will demand once he hits the open market. Everyone would love to see "The Big Three" finish the rest of their careers in Boston and ride out into the sunset together, and this includes Ainge. But anyone would be foolish to believe that this could ever really happen.
At the current point in time, Garnett is 35 years old. And when you add that to the fact that he has been in the league for 16 seasons, his age instantly seems to skyrocket. The mileage that Garnett has accrued since he was drafted out of high school in 1995 is alarming, and there is no way that he can hold up as a starting big man for more than two or three more years, tops.
If you don't buy into this belief, how about you look at the fact that K.G. has missed 60 games over the last four seasons? This includes 25 games during the 2008-09 season which forced him to miss not only the second half of the year, but the playoffs as well.
People will say that this was due to a freak knee injury (but truthfully, there was really nothing "freak" about it), and will also point out the fact that he has been able to stay relatively healthy throughout the last two seasons.
There is certainly truth to be found within that statement, and he was still able to post solid averages of 14.9 points and 8.9 rebounds per game last season. But these are certainly below-average numbers for the future Hall of Famer. That is why he needs to be moved now while his value is still somewhat high in order to make sure that the Celtics receive a nice package in return.
Garnett could be a great addition to a young and talented team that may be one piece away from a true championship run (i.e., the Atlanta Hawks, Oklahoma City Thunder or Portland Trail Blazers). And some of these teams may be willing to trade away some of their younger talent in order to make a run at success now.
For instance, the Atlanta Hawks have expressed interest in moving high-flying forward Josh Smith recently, and they could be a great trading partner for the Celtics. Smith has already said that Boston is one of the few teams that he would be interested in playing for, and he would be able to develop along with Rajon Rondo, Green and an aging Paul Pierce over the next few seasons. The Rondo-Green-Smith connection could eventually turn into the new premier trio for The Green. Of course it will never be as good as "The Big Three" of Pierce, Allen and Garnett, but in all reality, how many trios in NBA history were ever as good as this group?
Fans need to realize that investing in the future sometimes outweighs the desire to win right now. Think about it, would you rather gamble on one more year or ensure long-term success for a franchise that has virtually no young talent (besides Green and Rondo) on their current roster?
Of course the Celtics cannot trade Garnett for "50 cents on the dollar," and they should certainly keep him and try for one more championship run if the team does not receive a viable offer. But if they do get offered a sweet package—one that offers both youth and talent—the team would be foolish not to jump at the opportunity.
Yes, it will be sad to see K.G. go, but it may also be foolish to let him stay.
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