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Boston Celtics' Expiration Date Has Arrived

David Weiss@<a href="https://twitter.com/Davinchy83" class="twitter-follow-button" data-show-count="false">Follow @Davinchy83</a> <script>!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){jsCorrespondent IIIJune 28, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 17:  Head coach Doc Rivers of the Boston Celtics talks with Paul Pierce #34 while taking on the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 17, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Let me play devil's advocate for a moment on why the Celtics should keep their same starting five next year.

When healthy, they have proven to be one of the most difficult teams in the playoffs.

Had they had home-court advantage in the Finals (OR Kendrick Perkins in game seven), they may have been holding their own parade last week.

Had the free throw/foul disparity between the Lakers and Celtics not been so strongly in favor of the Lakers, we would now be talking about how urgently the Celtics need to go through every measure to keep their "big 3" (Rondo excluded) intact.

Here is the reality.

When your team has had health problems over the years, and that team also happens to be old, health problems are expected.

When your team is advised by Doc Rivers, whom each Celtics player regards as a father-figure, to be the agitators again and again going into game seven, knowing full well that the most aggressive team has won every game thus far in the Finals—you can understand why there was a disparity to begin with.

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Maybe you agree with me, or maybe you don't. It's all hearsay after all, right?

But consider that this offseason marks the biggest free agency the league has seen in over a decade.

Lebron James has already gone on record as saying that his main priority is winning. In the same vein, he will surely put himself in a situation where he can win rings for numerous seasons.

Maybe the Celtics didn't have any problems getting by Lebron when he was essentially a one-man show in Cleveland, with unexpected guest appearances by Mo Williams.

It won't be the same if he goes to the Bulls with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah. That is also including the fact that the Bulls, with the Hinrich trade made on draft day, also have enough money to sign an additional player.

Consider also that Dwyane Wade is expected to rejoin the Heat and get some much needed help in the form of Chris Bosh or Amare Stoudemire. And the Heat will also have money to fill out the remainder of their roster or sign a third big name player.

Meanwhile, there is the Knicks and the Nets—both are teams with boatloads of money and the readiness to go for broke like the parents on MTV's Sweet Sixteen.

What I mean to say by all this is that the Eastern Conference is geared to become a lot better. And these old meets new Celtics are at a crossroads with their future.

Now, every Celtics fan is aware that they can trade Rasheed's price tag as an expiring contract before he officially retires, which means they can net a meaningful player in the six to seven million dollar range.

While that is huge, it does not change the fact that the majority of the team is on its last wheels.

Ray is a free agent. Paul wants an extension. KG morphs from awful to awesome seemingly on a game to game basis. And all three of them are at the tail end of their prime (and that is being kind).

If I am the Celtics, regardless of whether Doc comes back or not, I have to break this team up.

Their ceiling is too short and they need to make meaningful changes while their players still have some value.

My first move is to let Ray Allen go. Although Ray wants to be in Boston and has acknowledged he will take a pay cut, he isn't going to take a huge one. And even if he is, he is too streaky and was absent for the Finals.

At age 35, is that someone the Celtics want to keep? Especially considering how many suitors are going to be throwing large sums at him.

So bye bye, Ray.

Second move: trade Paul Pierce.

I know this will rattle a lot of green feathers but you all saw Pierce in the Finals. Yes, there were flashes of greatness, but they were blurred by inconsistency and age. Paul may be the heart of the franchise, but there is no one bigger as a realistic trade commodity.

If the Celtics want a shot at the title for one more year, by all means keep Paul.

But those who know that this franchise is one season away from looking like the current San Antonio Spurs (and that time frame is being generous), you would be wise to see what Paul Pierce can get you in the open market. Especially considering how much the Eastern Conference seems poised to improve after this offseason.

Last move: bring back Nate Robinson.

This is purely a chemistry move for the Celtics. Yes, they have Avery Bradley, but the Celtics fan base is no better embodied than in the little fire-cracker you call Nate Robinson. When the team is lagging, is there really anyone better to rev up the Celtics?

The bottom line is if the Celtics want to be competitive for years to come, they need to take a closer look at their big three much like Rasheed Wallace. In other words, your biggest contribution to us is what we can get for/ instead of you to keep this train moving.

Forget keeping up with the Jones'. You are trying to keep up with the James'. Or at least that is what Lebron's more competitive team will informally be called when it's collection of young legs and talent is primed to be the Eastern Conference's upgraded, elite team.

Think about it, Boston.