It finally feels over, right?
We've seen Pierce play in a Brooklyn Nets uniform. Gerald Wallace, Jeff Green, and Brandon Bass have all picked up the leadership mantle in the absence of Kevin Garnett. Brad Stevens has the team pointed forward and stressed the importance of process as he tries to mold his players into a cohesive unit. Pierce and KG won't play in tonight's preseason swan song and save that last gasp of emotion for their triumphant return on January 26th. It won't be until then that it will really feel like closure, but personally, I feel comfortable seeing other people.
Guns N' Roses - Patience (via GunsNRosesVEVO)
You can hear it in Ainge's comments in his latest interview with Ken Berger. The blame game with Doc seems over and he sounds resolute on building around Rondo and the wealth of young talent coming to the Celtics in the next few years:
"It's my job to build the Celtics, and Rondo is a big part of that. Will everything be as perfect as he would like it? I don't believe so, but it's not perfect for us, either, the fact that he can't play.
"I think Rondo is with us. I think he likes a lot of the core guys on our team now, and I think he is optimistic and looking forward to a new chapter."
New chapters, all around -- from Boston to Brooklyn to Los Angeles. The clock starts now on the Celtics' rebuild, with Ainge's clear-eyed, unwavering leadership at the center of it all.
"We've been through it, and the patience that's required -- that's the hardest part," Ainge said.
Ainge's feelings towards RR were echoed by Brad Stevens in an interview with ESPN's Jeff Goodman and it makes absolute sense. He's our Paul Pierce of 2007. Whether Ainge takes the trade-for-vets route or decides to build with young talent, it'll be Rondo who's tasked with getting those players to perform at their potential. That's been his M.O. since he entered the league. Honestly, is there a better player in the league right now better equipped to do that?