Remember back when we had a 6 game winning streak? That was fun wasn't it? Back then I declared that the winning streak "saved the season." Well, it might have at the time but I'm not so sure anymore. Before we go further, I feel the need to restate that I'm against trading Pierce under any circumstance and that is the clearest path to "blowing it up" at this point. However, I just can't say with any confidence that Danny Ainge will feel the same way.
Let's look back at what he said.
But what if the C's hadn't gone on this winning streak? What if they continued to lose in the fashion they were? Would Ainge feel as good about the team's future?
"No, absolutely not," he said. "You have to produce. It's my job to look at the bigger picture. We have to live in the moment and try to win and help our team have success, but at the same time if it;s not happening on the court than there has to be changes made, absolutely."
Well, here we are, 6 games later and the team hasn't won since. How does he feel about the team's lack of production? What kind of moves will he make? Small, medium, or big and bold? Again, if you believe Chad Ford, anything and everything is on the table and has been all year long.
Multiple teams tell me they've talked to the Celtics and they believe everything is on the table -- as it should be. If Ainge can make the team stronger for a run at the Finals he will. If he can't, but he can just start the rebuilding process in a big way -- why wouldn't he.
Taken in a vaccum a 6 game losing streak is bad but not the end of the world. When you combine that with the recent 5 game losing streak and the team's overall record, and things sound a lot less lovely.
Avery Bradley gave this team a spark when he returned and for a little while it looked like things were turning the corner. But it turned out to be something like a stock market speculative bubble. The bubble burst and the team's fortunes fell back to earth. The team no longer has the excuse of missing Bradley. If they want to add a dynamic piece to the puzzle it will cost them a few pieces on the current roster - which apparently could be anybody.
Marc Stein has this in his Weekend Dime.
Although there are still live rumbles on the league's personnel grapevine that this will actually be the February that Celtics front-office chief Danny Ainge finally parts with Paul Pierce or Rajon Rondo, I'm still pretty skeptical. As one team monitoring the Celtics said this week: "[Boston] has floated the idea of moving Pierce or Rondo out there for the last three years ... but has never pulled the trigger."
So it's premature, to me, to throw Pierce's name up there with Rudy Gay and Pau Gasol on the list of high-profile names available this trade season, even though we've heard more than one rival team speculate -- given that the Celtics and Grizzlies, sources say, have indeed held some exploratory trade talks since Gay hit the market -- that a three-way deal where Pierce lands in Memphis, Gasol goes to Boston and Gay joins the Lakers makes "some sense."
Change is coming. It may not happen right away and it might even wait till the offseason, but change is coming. The KG Era that we've loved so much might be on its last legs. Unless things turn around really, really quickly, I'm not sure we'll see Pierce and Garnett back next year. Will that assumption prompt Danny to make a preemptive move? I don't know, but I can't say it won't. Not anymore.
Everything's on the table. Danny will look for value and won't make moves just to make moves. But if he can get what he considers fair value, I believe he'll pull the trigger.