31 this season, keeps himself in great shape, expect 3 years top play, 3 years 3rd option type play, 2-3 years of starter/rotation play with his rebounding, shooting, and passing making him a Reggie Miller-esque veteran. That's at least 6 to 8 years of productivity, not 2-3 and then done.
Should be in the same boat as KG. He can play as a top 3 scoring option for another 5-6 seasons, much as KG’s former teammate Latrell Sprewell proved before balking at an extension and retiring earlier than his skills dictated.
Read the rest after the jump.
This tandem should instantly put the Celtics in contention for the ECF and they have a nice cast of supporting players to help them battle Detroit and Chicago. Cleveland has no chance of competing against KG/Pierce as they cannot defend KG at all-see SA finals for proof of this.
Ryan Gomes and Delonte West are both competent 3rd options offensively and Tony Allen is a real X-factor if healthy. Rajon Rondo, Leon Powe, and Kendrick Perkins are all very reliable DEFENSIVE rotation players, as is Allen, so team defense should pick up substantially...
KG and Pierce are 30+ years old and the team has no other young star player to alleviate the burden placed on these two. expecting them to play 40 mpg is just NOT FEASABLE. The team can build with KG and Pierce for another 5-8 years, but will NEED to have another younger star player to help carry the team when KG and Pierce are sitting. Expect no more than 30 to 35 minutes out of these two for the years 3 through 8 if the team wants to keep both players productive and healthy.
Also, in 3 seasons the team will need to be able to have a building plan for the future. KG and Pierce aren't contending for the title 3 seasons from now as the two primary options. With no high picks and no youth on the roster capable of taking over the mantel of primary option the team is reliant on 2 main things:
A. A stable of FA's who will sign MLE deals to play for a title
B. Pierce and KG re-upping for SUBSTANTIALLY less money themselves to facilitate adding youth to support them
Final Point of Contention:
While KG/Pierce does put the Celtics in the mix for an ECF title for the next 2-3 seasons, this team looks woefully thin when being matched up against the best of the west. They can certainly compete better than Cleveland, but they don't look like they could defeat the Spurs in a 7 game series and may have serious problems with any half court team. Running teams they can compete against because of their defensive potential and their ability to play an effective High/Low game in the half court.
At the end of all of this, the team will most likely fall off the map as soon as KG and Pierce are no longer able to play at their current level. With no one to come in and "take the baton" from the two veterans, the team will quickly fall into the mediocre position that everyone now laments and it will get progressively worse from there. Meanwhile Jefferson and the 5 pick will be in their primes and could feasibly be a frontcourt tandem that is dominating the West with their interior play for 10-14 years.
The team HAS to keep either the pick or Jefferson. I don't think this is too much of an issue because NO OTHER TEAM in the NBA can offer a competitive bid to what the Celtics can WITHOUT including Jefferson or the 5th pick, at least not an offer that keeps their own team effectively competing for title contention. The Phoenix scenario has value for the Suns, but holds little intrigue from Minnesota’s perspective unless they got Amare Stoudamire. Is Phoenix better with KG instead of Stoudamire? That’s difficult to say.
For the Celtics, including both the pick and Jefferson limits the team's ability to add a top-level talent to groom behind KG/Pierce so he can support them in their latter years. It is doubtful the team would make this type of move without having a game plan for bridging the gap that makes them a championship level team in the true sense. KG alone makes fans happy in the short-term, but the team wasn’t looking at riotous masses to begin with and the final objective is a ring, not an ECF title.
The one possible alternative is that the Celtics could include Wally Sczcerbiak in the KG deal and utilize Theo Ratliff’s money and another prospect and/or pick to do and S&T for Rashard Lewis (his name being the one out there) which would give the Celtics 3 legit big-time scorers with one of them being 3 years the junior of the other two. That at least gives the team some offensive punch to spell KG/Pierce a bit.
As great as Al Jefferson projects to be, (25+ scorer) The team would probably make this trade IF they had the assurance it can maintain the lotto pick AND can add another big time veteran who's a little younger in order to facilitate the transition that will be necessary for this team to compete once KG and Pierce start to decline.
If the team did things right, both KG and Pierce could be very effective LONG-TERM contributors who could be very productive for years beyond their prime. The key is to have the ability to give them help going forward and that is something that can't simply be left to faith. Ainge is intelligent when it comes to long-term planning. Rest assured the organization has gamed out a number of scenarios that go beyond one initial move…even if that move isn’t the one currently on the lips of every NBA observer…