Blogtable: Being Relevant In Boston

Boston's Kevin Garnett (by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE)

Boston’s Kevin Garnett (by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE)

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.


Week 27: Thunder’s chances | Will Lakers contend next season? | Boston relevancy


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.

Danny Ainge (by Rich Obrey/NBAE)

Danny Ainge (by Rich Obrey/NBAE)

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.

35 Comments

  1. Keep Pierce, KG & of course Doc!
    Thank you for another great season My Celtics!!!
    CELTICS-HORAAH-UBUNTU!!!

  2. @ migidabatos-are you on drugs or something, why would Celts trade away the best on ball defender that not only the Celts but the entire nba has seen in years-GET REAL! His defense alone is enough to keep him-his offense is good enough as he played only 1 year w/ Texas Longhorns avg. 12 pts a game & Celts drafted him 19th overall 1st round-he just has to get lil more confidence w/ his outside shot as he’s not afraid to drive for a dunk or layup-Bradley is a keeper period!

  3. PaulTears34 says:

    trade or retire Paul “overrated” Pierce.. and get a role player who specializes on defense..

  4. gadget says:

    KG – retire – in the coachning staff. Paul Pierce – amnesty his contract

    in team ;

    Rajon Rondo
    Averly Bradley
    Jeff Green
    Josh Smith
    Nicola Pecovic
    ……..
    Jared Sullinger

    others get the f…out :)

  5. The Clinic says:

    the celtics need to trade kg for d12 kg needs a good place to be and the lakers can move gasol to the center he is about 7 feet. Starting line up for the C’s
    Pg rondo
    Sg bradley/terry/pierce
    Sf Pierce/ green
    Pf Sullinger/green
    C D12
    6th man Jeff Green
    Then they will get it all together

  6. migidabatos says:

    danny ainge should trade A.Bradley for a good scoring shooting guard. the defence of the celtics is great they just need a young, good scorer for their team.

  7. dman1528 says:

    Boston just had a tough injury filled year, they will bounce back next year with rondo back. They should pick up a solid center to help fill in minutes when KG’s not on the court resting.

  8. dannyboy71 says:

    Danny Ainge was mgr of the year when he put the pieces together and won the championship a couple of yrs ago. They should have won btb, but fell apart in the 4th qtr of game seven 7 against the lakers. They are an old team. The reason they lost to Miami last yr is because Miami was younger and wore them down. Ainge needs to get younger players through the draft and fing young good talent.

  9. ai83 says:

    Pierce & KG Legends, Boston only need the pieces needed to help Pierce and KG, and reduced his minutes in the game, with Rondo healthy and Green C´s still be there. Garnett at 37 is a top defensive player still in the league, What bigs man players are better than KG right now? and Pierce still can to play at high level, if his minutes are reduced.

    Garnett 52 rebounds in three games, absolutely incredible, best power forward in the history with Duncan.

    Celtics need to sign Big Al Jefferson

  10. Zach says:

    Celtics need a real center or at least someone as big as KG to take the pressure off of him. As soon as KG leaves the court, the defensive presence felt is almost none. They need a big man in there taking the hits and getting the boards. Imagine KG’s extra offensive output if he did not have to do all the big man work. When he is fresh he does not miss that mid range turn around. Obviously he only has about a year left in him but he is definitely a valuable piece. Yet they need their real PG so it really comes down to another big man and Rondo. Peirce has at least 2 more years and is always going to give you something. Jeff Green can come off the bench and can start taking over the minutes from Peirce and become the starter. He even helps at PF. Terry is providing good bench minutes and Bradley is just stuck playing PG, which he is not. Sullinger will be back and who knows maybe Fab Melo becomes something??? Probably not but i can dream. There is room for improvement but most of the pieces are there.

  11. Kamote says:

    Boston to be relevant? This is a team that has lost it’s budding franchise player, a high-potential draft PF and a couple more role players. But this team still managed to make the playoffs, go down 3 games to none, and make a comeback and scare the hell out of one of the most potent offensive teams. Beating the Heat is one thing, but declaring Boston to be irrelevant would be plain st*pid. Had this team not lost Rondo, Jared and Barbosa, they would’ve won the first round for sure, and maybe be a threat to the defending champs.

    True, KG and Pierce are aging, but I won’t want to trade them. I’d rather have them play lesser minutes next year, but still be able to influence the young core of Rondo, Bradley, Green and Jared into fighting the Celtic way. As Jared and Rondo will be healing next year, they should just give more responsibility to Green and Bradley on offense. They could trade away some of the players for those who can play multiple positions, can play defense, can add to their offense, and can fit into Doc’s system. They don’t need star players with high contracts, just role players that Doc can mold to fit the team. They just have to develop their core of young players the next 2 years.

    And once KG and Pierce retire, then they can have the money to extend that core of players, and get a center with high-potential (Drummond, Monroe, Pek, etc.).

  12. Guzp says:

    KG and pierce maybe off this regular season but not in the playoffs. the only problem with this team is the injuries (is there anyone should be fired for this?) they lose rondo, sullinger and barbosa in just 3 weeks. and those are key players. and this team always has 4-6 new players every season, who can build a team chemistry with that? they should get a legitimate big man. josh smith can be a good fit..

  13. Celtics keeping Pierce & KG has proven a great idea & will cont to be exactly that is just hype from others way outside the organization who think they know what Ainge should do. Every year they count the Celtics out not even knowing what they’re talking about & jump back on our bandwagon when our Celtics prove them wrong “you’re welcome”. :)
    The Celtics will stay relevant for years to come because they have a great organization & will make good signings in the future! The Truth & KG-BLEED GREEN-DIE GREEN!!!
    CELTICS-HORAAH-UBUNTU!!!

  14. Sara says:

    I dont understand how you all are debating about them being relevant. Weren’t they a game away from returning to the Finals last year? LOL this makes no sense. The time is fine, just continue to add youth. Jeff Green is becoming a beast and with Rondo and Sullinger back..there you have it. This was said last yr and they barely lost to the Heat without Avery and an injured Pierce. They were the 3rd best team in the league…smh Understand the Game!!!

  15. Denholm says:

    howard is a possibility but the pay he demands is ridiculous so there would have to be some sacrifices..

  16. Boris says:

    They will be a championship contender next season with rondo back, the only thing they have to do is sign Josh Smith to play the 5 position as a starter, so Garnett can play the 4. They will have to sacrify some good bench players for this to open finantial space, but they have plenty depht to do so and still keep some very good talent for cheaper price like Sullinger, Williams and Randolph.

  17. Arky says:

    Cs have got this game won. Game 6 is at TD Garden, so if they win that it is game 7 and the Knicks have let a 3-0 slide to 3-3…. the upset is on, and the JR Smith Cinderella Story seems to have turned back into a pumpkin.

    If the Cs make the 2nd round even without Rondo,doesn’t that change the game a little for what they do for next year? Heck, in the next round they get Atlanta or Indy and anything could happen. ECF showdown with the Heat after all?

  18. Ray says:

    Steve’s opinion is probably the only one that I’m NOT against. I mean, these guys want to compete. Garnett will always be Garnett. He may be slower, but, his tenacity and will to compete more than compensates for his diminished athletic skills. They just need to be healthy all year round. Because a complete celtics team, even when put in lower seeds, can compete with anybody and win.

  19. Jerry says:

    I agree with those who are saying to hang in there with this roster and make changes bit by bit and piece by piece. Nothing wholesale, and no trading of KG or The Truth. They would not get what they need in dealing them, and they would be turning their backs on guys who have meant so much to them — especially Pierce who could have left long ago but stuck it out on some very bad teams. KG is a LOYAL warrior. Be loyal to him.

    This is not a franchise who sheds old champions. This is a franchise who chooses what team to trade a player to based on the best fit for him — see Tracy ? from Notre Dame years ago. This is a franchise who drafted a player in the first round that had recently become a paraplegic and was never going to play professional basketball — see Langdon Turner from Indiana.

    They have a good young core. The injury to Sullinger was, in it’s own way, almost as debilitating as the loss of Rondo. Let the two of them come back, and continue to limit Pierce and Garnett’s minutes and ride them to their respective sunsets.

    • Sara says:

      Agreed 100%

    • RD says:

      So true! These people are always saying that the celtics are too old, but year in and year out you find them doing well in the playoffs only being beaten by the eventual champions (except back in 09 when they lost against Orlando but KG was injured) who they pushed to 7 games.

      It’s really annoying that Danny Ainge is continually trying to trade Pierce and Garnett. Clearly there is no loyalty for this GM. I don’t think he knows that loyalty affects the players. Look what happened to Ray Allen. He really felt unwanted because he was always included in trade rumors. So yeah he left. Now he’s doing the same to Pierce and Garnett even if Garnett has a no-trade clause and said that he will never leave the celtics? Its because of these 2 people that the celtics ARE STILL RELEVANT in the playoffs. Even Gasol who is always included in trade rumors said that it’s hard to stay focused when you feel unwanted.

      And lastly, this “rebuilding process” and “going younger” doesn’t always work. It’s seriously over hyped! Look what Minnesota did in 07. They rebuilt. Where are they now?? Rebuilding is not always the best option. Sometimes staying put is the best. (Look at the Spurs who stuck with Duncan, Parker and Ginobili since 2002). I personally think that the Celtics need to stay put with their HOF stars but try to get a good young center and probably a good back up PG for rondo. Ideally high energy players to add spark to this aging roster that is STILL REALLY GOOD.

  20. aaaaaa says:

    What;s with this aging roster they keep mentioning? Jason Terry isn’t that old and has 3-4 years left in him, same for Chris Wilcox. Paul Pierce and KG are really the only old players and they still contribute more than enough. The Celtics’ roster is fine the way it is. This year injuries got the best of them. That’s it…

  21. Celtics Fan says:

    I don’t understand why people say to trade KG. Although he is getting old, he could still fill a mentor role with limited playing time and besides, he has a no trade clause in his contract.

    • AC says:

      I also agree with Celtics Fan! KG and Pierce are leaders, so you don’t rely on them as much as before, that was the plan. Rondo got hurt. Sullinger got hurt. And they are in the playoffs and fighting hard. Armchair general managers are driving me nuts. Good on Ainge!

  22. Skolimowski says:

    Aschburner’s moderation is the reason why he’s my favorite writer here.

    All the others who are saying this team is old I’m sorry to tell you journalism involves some research – there are 8 teams with higher age average and the Celtics only come in 9th because Garnett, Pierce and Terry are way over 30. Even so, understand the first 2’s experience alone makes them irreplaceable, but on top of that they still have so much more game than some younger players out there that it’s just absurd to even consider trading them.

    Age is not the problem and the backcourt is not the problem – the problems are injuries, too many lineup changes (a consequence) and lack of size.

    Rondo, Bradley, Green and Sullinger are a lineup for the future like few other teams have. The only thing lacking is time for them to gel and a center who can be benched until Garnett retires. Green will also have to wait for Pierce to retire. But the point is: there’s a system working here and you people need to shut up.

    • Jimmy jazz says:

      that is spot on. Well done man. If they could get Rondo & Sullinger back & add a decent centre. Now come on D12 take a pay cut and come to Boston , would be the perfect place for you.

      • Chris says:

        I’t not so much the age as the diminished ability. Neither K G or Pierce can play at a high level with semi-heavy minutes for 82 games, plus the pre-season. The supporting cast is thin and mediocre at best. They gambled this year and will go out in the first round. One year later and they will be even harder pressed to win.Nobody can question KG’s heart or desire to win, but he’s been in the NBA since he was 17 and that a lot of battles under the board. I have been a fan of the Celtics since the Bill Russell – Bob Cousy days, but it is time to have a changing of the guard and rebuild the franchise, however they might attempt it.

    • dattebayo says:

      basketballreference has the C’s listed as the 5th oldest team^^

      None the less, age is a factor when your best players are old and need to play major minutes for your team to be somewhat successful. Can you get away with playing them fewer minutes? Yeah, but you’d need good players on your bench, so you don’t break apart the way the Celtics did on defense, whenever KG got a breather.

      btw. do you people still think that Terry is a better player than Ray Allen? I am still rofl from that one :)

      • Skolimowski says:

        That’s because basketballreference is still counting Leandro Barbosa and Jason Collins.

    • Sara says:

      Yes!

      • Han says:

        Sir, team like NY is older in average bcoz they have Sheed and Thomas who’s now out for good, but their stars (Anthony, JR) is not as old as KG and Pierce. Out of that 8 teams above C’s, name me 1 team with old superstars that still can contend? Sorry, but the answer is none. C’s is too old, except for Boston’s fan.

      • Skolimowski says:

        @Han: Spurs.

    • AC says:

      I agree with Skol!

  23. Patty says:

    DANNY AINGE NEEDS TO BE FIRED.

    LOOK @ THE PIECES THAT DANNY HAS PUT AROUND KG, PAUL PIERCE, & RONDO. GREEN COULD COME BACK AND PLAY OFF THE BENCH. EVERY ONE NEEDS TO GO.