Should we -- meaning this team, of which we are all a part, or consider ourselves a part (and rightfully so, as we fans are, fundamentally, the reason for this team's existence) -- sacrifice whatever becomes necessary to sacrifice in pursuit of our 18th banner? Which is more important, loyalty to the players who have comprised this team for up to the best part of two decades.... or winning, pure and simple?
For example -- ripping directly from recent headlines -- should we be willing to trade Paul Pierce away for one or two guys who we believe would help us win a ring -- either this year or in years to come? How about Pierce plus Garnett?
Paul is by now family to this team and its fans. He's our son/brother/uncle/father... family. Sometimes prodigal (in his youth), oftentimes transcendent (holding the trophy with one hand, fist punching the sky with the other; his dagger 3 in the Clips game).... he is as much a Celtic as anyone has ever been. Same goes for KG: he's become our beating heart. It means something to have these guys retire here. Not in terms of winning, no (though that's also debatable). Emotionally.
Dirty word? Should we be emotion-free when it comes to basketball decisions? Let's get very clear about this.... DANNY AINGE WANTS TO SEE OUR ANSWER. Because he has to answer this question every year, right around this time. So let's try to help him.
Remember -- our feelings matter. In this particular decision, our feelings probably matter more than anyone else's. Because the team will make these moves -- or not make them -- for us. That's Danny's job description and those are his marching orders from Wyc and company: 'Keep the fans happy. Do not -- repeat: DO NOT! -- tick them off.' We fans keep this team alive. It exists of them... but for us and by us (i.e., our support, in all ways).
We have two sides to weigh:
- Clearly, we want to win another ring -- now, ASAP.
- Also clearly, we love Kevin and Paul, and do not want to see them in some other uniform.
So which way do the scales tip? Is winning the most important thing? Does it supersede all other considerations, even and especially emotional ones?
Or do feelings about beloved players matter more than pure winning?
I'm asking you. I don't have a universal answer. I don't think anybody can. It's a personal question, one that can only be answered personally, each fan for him- or her-self.
(I guess someone should put up a poll about this...)