I've been beating this drum for a while, but it is nice to hear someone else say it so I know I'm not (overly) crazy. Paul Flannery makes the following points.
It’s been said before, but it’s worth repeating again because the calls are getting louder for Ainge to do something – anything – after the depleted Celtics were blown out by the Mavericks, 89-73 on Monday night. They have lost four straight and six of seven to fall below .500, scuttling what had been a modest revival. But here it is again: Ainge doesn’t have to blow up the Celtics because he already did. He’s dragged as much as he can out of this run while timing almost everything to end when the extension Garnett signed upon his arrival is completed. He will have ample cap space, two All-Stars including a 25-year-old point guard, a respected coach locked up on a long-term contract and at least two picks in what will be a loaded draft. There are teams who spend years wandering in the NBA abyss trying to get themselves into this position with half the assets that Ainge will possess if he simply lets the season play out and does nothing at the trade deadline.
He follows up with a detailed look at what the Celtics would look like next year if they make no trades this season (and don't land Dwight Howard in the offseason). They won't be contenders out of the gate, but they'll have a very solid start to the rebuilding process.
One interesting note: If the season ended today, the Celtics would have the 15th and 23rd picks in the draft. Guess who's being ranked right around the 15 spot... Duke guard (and a certain coach's son) Austin Rivers.