Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
You’re Danny Ainge: How do you make the Celtics relevant again with that aging roster?
Steve Aschburner: Job No. 1 for Ainge is to implore Kevin Garnett not to make any hasty decisions on his playing future. Because if he did, he’d probably opt to shut ‘er down for good. It’s hard enough on him to be getting old, with diminishing powers and durability, but to be fresh off an elimination? No, Ainge needs Garnett to get away for weeks or even months, to decompress and realize how much he still craves the competition and needs the game. Then with Garnett, Paul Pierce and a repaired Rajon Rondo, plus pieces such as Jeff Green, Avery Bradley and Jared Sullinger, the Celtics would be relevant — OK, at least until the next 82 games picked them off one-by-one again.
Fran Blinebury: You don’t. Not with that aging roster. It’s time to turn the page and move forward with a recuperated Rajon Rondo as main cog while accumulating as much young talent as possible.
Jeff Caplan: Tough question. The first part of the answer is getting Rajon Rando back. And considering the recovery paths of Ricky Rubio and Derrick Rose, well, it will be interesting to watch Rondo’s progress. I don’t think trading Paul Pierce or Kevin Garnett in the offseason is the answer. GM Danny Ainge has little wiggle room financially. He’s committed to Jeff Green, Jason Terry, Courtney Lee and Brandon Bass at pretty good salaries and multiple years. Jared Sullinger’s return will help the front line. Backcourt reinforcement is necessary. Best plan might be to bring the boys back, make periphery changes and hope Rondo can get the job done. See what happens and if it’s ugly, then a wholesale change in direction can begin at the trade deadline.
Scott Howard-Cooper: By not having that aging roster. The time has come to get to the future, and that means getting something for Kevin Garnett while you still can. That means a series of moves.
John Schuhmann: Well, you can’t make the Celtics relevant again with that aging roster. You get back to relevancy by severing ties with the aging part and rebuilding. You have to take one step back to take two steps forward, and the longer you wait to take that step back, the longer it will take before you can get younger stars on the roster. With Rajon Rondo not likely to be back at 100 percent next season, and with how good the 2014 Draft is supposed to be, this summer is the right time to pull the trigger and say goodbye to Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. That’s a lot easier said than done (and I’m glad I’m not Danny Ainge in this case), but next season would be a good time to be bad.
Sekou Smith: I don’t, if I’m Danny Ainge, not with this aging roster of true warriors who are simply out of time. The only way the Celtics are made relevant again is by breaking this team up and replacing some of their older veteran stars with younger stars. Ainge has already engineered one championship team during his tenure and is certainly capable of doing it again. But the goal right now is just to make them relevant again, which is something completely different than making them a championship team again. The first step is getting Rajon Rondo back and healthy from the torn ACL that ended his season. Next up is perhaps the toughest call Ainge will have to make, and that’s what to do with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. It’s time to get something for one or both of them. Bottom line, the Celtics don’t remain relevant with this aging roster. They have to revamp the roster to make that happen.
Lang Whitaker: At some point the Celtics have to get younger, obviously, but if I’m Danny Ainge, I stand pat with this team at least until Rondo is healthy. This team has plenty of talented players and pieces, and I’d like to see them make one more postseason run with this crew. But the leash has to be pretty short: Pierce will be an expiring contract in 2014, while Rondo and Garnett expire in 2015. So if things aren’t working, as soon as it’s apparent I’d start shipping guys out and collecting draft picks and good contracts.