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Window Pain

I don't mean to state the obvious, but in case you hadn't noticed, time is running out.

When the Big 3 were formed like Voltron, we all knew the window was short.  The most optimistic talked about 4 to 5 years of elite basketball with a few declining years after that.  The most pessimistic were proved wrong in year one when Banner 17 was raised.   Reality, it seems, will fall somewhere in between.  We just aren't sure where.

We know how long they are under contract for.  Ray has one more year, Paul has two, and KG has three.  Of course it isn't that easy.  If it turns out that KG's issues are lingering or worse, career threatening, then he could go from being the Big Ticket to the Big Albatross.  No regrets of course, just looking ahead.

Ray has had 2 straight disappointing playoff runs, both of which were at least partially attributed to nagging injuries.  Shooting guards not named Reggie typically fall off a shelf around his age.  Pierce was clearly dragging and hurt as well.

It is clear that we can no longer count on a full season out of all three.  If it happens, great.  I'll consider it a bonus and a blessing, but I'm not counting on it.  That means we can't expect the starters to do the heavy lifting and hope that the bench steps up every 3rd game or so.

It would seem that Danny Ainge has some work to do.  If he plans to keep the Big Three together, he needs to put together the right kind of bench around them.  That means guys that can excel off the bench or fill in for months at a time in the starting lineup (with competent players to fill in the bench roles behind them).  Doc wants vets and Wyc has expressed willingness to pay for the right kinds of guys.  That would seem to be option number 1, but it isn't the only option.

By now you've probably heard the story where Danny urged Red to trade McHale while he still had value.  You can bet he's thought about potential Ray Allen trades more than any message board junkie and even contemplated what he could get for Paul and KG.  Doesn't mean he's going to do it, but it is his job to weigh the pros and cons of any such deal for years to come.

If he did trade Ray, you would have to assume it would be for some younger star that could extend the window for KG and Paul and make a bridge to the years when Rondo and hopefully Perkins are cornerstones.

Everyone wants to see Paul retire a Celtic, but if Pierce's game started to decline or if he got seriously hurt, I could see him shopped next year if it allowed us to reload once again.  Same with KG the next year.  But all that is a long way off.

Right now I'm still hoping for option 1: Building the bench with high quality vets gives Doc some he can trust with big minutes which gives the big three more rest and set us up for another Championship run or two.  Just don't wait too long, the window is closing.

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