...and I feel fine!
When Danny Ainge added Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to the existing trio of Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, and Kendrick Perkins, we knew they had a certain window of opportunity. Most assumed 3 years, though many of us have been hoping to squeeze out a little more. Year one was a magical ride with a storybook ending. Year two was hard fought but cut short by a key injury. Year three is where age and injuries finally caught up with this team, but they would not go away quietly. With one last glorious push, they've put themselves one win away from winning a second NBA Championship together as a group.
Enjoy it. Revel in it. Moments like these are once in a lifetime. We're talking game 7, Lakers vs. Celtics. We may not see this happen again in our lifetimes. And I hate to be the one to bring this up, but the window might be closing tonight. At the very least, the core group of Pierce, Garnett, Allen, Perkins, Rondo, Doc Rivers, and Tom Thibodeau will not be back at full strength next year.
I am not going to spend much time on the particulars of the offseason today (not with Game 7 at our doorstep). Clearly we've got all offseason and the rest of our lives to discuss the next steps the team could and should take. But I wanted to remind everyone just how special this moment in time is for this cast of characters as we know them.
Tonight will be Thibodeau's last game as a Celtic. Kendrick Perkins, the anchor of our defense, could be out or limited for a very long time. Ray Allen will be free to sign anywhere he likes this summer. In fact, there are more free agents on this team than guys with contracts going into next year. With all that in mind, and with family on his heart, Doc Rivers might decide he's done all the work he can do with this squad. Danny could (and perhaps should) decide to start building a younger, more athletic team to surround Rajon Rondo with.
Maybe the gang will all be back together again next year, but after the last season and a half, do we have any real expectation that they can make it through the season in one piece? We know they've got heart, that much they've proven in the last 2 months. We just don't know how many miles they've got left.
So enjoy this group. Enjoy this team. Enjoy this game. We may be seeing the last of them together. No regrets. It has been a fantastic ride. Win or lose tonight I'm so proud of this team. We've been lucky to experience it together.