On July 31, 2007, the Boston Celtics made a trade that would change the mentality of Celtics basketball since the glory days of Bird, McHale and Parish.
The Celtics traded for power forward Kevin Garnett for five players and a draft pick. This trade just came a month after the Celtics traded for sharpshooter Ray Allen on draft night. These acquisitions orchestrated “The Big Three” (Paul Pierce, Allen and Garnett) thus changing the culture of Celtics basketball for the better. Fast forward five years and one championship later, Garnett and Allen are both pending free agents. The question now is, do you bring them back for one more shot at another title?
The Celtics exceeded expectations this year by making all the way to game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, but ultimately falling to the Miami Heat. A lot of people, including myself, think the Celtics could have gone the distance if they were not without Avery Bradley, Jeff Green, Chris Wilcox and Jermaine O’Neal, who were all lost to injury throughout the season. Garnett put up numbers similar to those in his early career, so bringing him back would be a no-brainer. KG was the heart and soul of the Celtics defense and if he has more left in the tank. It would be nice to see him stick around for a little while longer. However, if he chooses to do so, will be on him and it will be interesting to see if he decides to come back or not. Allen on the other hand, might have been deemed expendable by the stellar play of Bradley after Allen went down to injury.
It always seemed in recent years that Ray Allen was always the expendable one with his name always in trade talks around the trade deadline. Mix that with rumors of head butting with star point guard, Rajon Rondo, and it definitely seems like he won’t be back. The Celtics fan in me would love to see Ray back in the green for one more season, but the realist in me knows that its probably over. Most people question if he should even retire, but if his ankles hold up then he definitely has more basketball left in him and would be a valuable asset to any NBA team.
The Celtics now have to make a decision on what they want to do with their future. Paul Pierce isn’t getting any younger and with only two years left on his contract, “The Truth” will want to try for one or two more championships before he retires. After that, the team will finally be handed off to Rondo who will only get better. It would be wise for the Celtics to get players to compliment both Pierce and Rondo and for the future. Josh Smith from Atlanta might be an interesting possibility. He played high school ball with Rondo and is best friends with him so the two could re-create the chemistry they once had. Another potential player the Celts look at would be O.J. Mayo, a free agent who had trouble grasping the Memphis Grizzles system. Many hopeful fans also would love to see the Celtics trade up in the draft for head coach Doc Rivers son, Austin Rivers. The standout freshman from Duke, Rivers has the potential to be a star in this league and who better to coach him than arguably the best coach in the game who happens to be his father.
Whatever the Celtics do this off-season might come at a cost of the Big Three, but fans of the Celtics know it wouldn’t last forever and the right thing would be to just move on.
Pierce Arrow Sports Editor