Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo was on NBC's SportsTalk yesterday and asked "What are the chances the Celtics trade one of the Big 3?"
"Boston is very active out there. They're willing to trade any of that Big Three if they can find a deal that helps them going forward with cap space, with draft picks.
Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers have decided internally that ‘we are not contenders, we are not going to win a championship this year' and if the right deal comes along for Pierce, Garnett or Ray Allen, they are going to move them.
Pierce is most likely [to be moved] as he has years left on his deal. Remember, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen are free agents at the end of this year. They can just let them lapse off the cap and then take the cap space and go forward."
After the Celtics were 4-8 on the season and had faced old friend Kendrick Perkins and the Thunder in Boston on January 16th, Wojo wrote the article Celtics Headed for Rebuild, Maybe Sooner Than Later. So the above recent statement could simply be an effort at a self-fulfilling prophesy by Mr. Wojnarowski. After all, in the article, Wojo honed in on what he described as the "the perplexing nature" of Pierce's contract which has 2 years remaining on it, while Garnett and Ray salaries will likely come of the cap this summer. Ainge has already made decisions to protect the Celtics' cap situation by not signing role players like Perkins and Tony Allen, and of course has control of Rondo for 3 more years.
WRITING ON THE WALL?
Doc Rivers was glum during his post-game interview against the Cavs last night. He stated that the Celtics are not going to play great every night and will "have to grind every night. That's what this team is, and that's what we're going to have to be - a grind-it-out team every night". Garnett even chimed in on the grind theme and said "We've got to fight through this. This is going to be a true grind right here, physically and mentally."
Ugh . . . I'm feeling a mix of close wins and blow-out losses will be in the Celtics foreseeable future this season.
Additionally, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce are cautious about where their playoff futures lie. Based on his discussions with the two stars, Steve Bulpett came to the conclusion that the postseason is no sure thing.
Ray Allen was far from making a guarantee about making the playoffs, saying it was simply on the players to make things better by taking care of things.
Pierce was more positive saying that is who the Celtics are - a "playoff team" . . . but indeed, "they do have to get their act together pretty fast here."
It is amazing that it's come to this: the Celtics fighting for their playoff lives and it's only mid-season. Last night's game against the Irving-lead Cavs (No. 9) and tonight's game against the starless Bucks (No. 10) become tantamount if they want to help themselves secure their current No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference.
Undoubtedly, if the team isn't broken up prior to the March 15th trade deadline, the Big Three will dearly want to hold their heads high in what may be their last hurrah together. But three do not make a basketball team, and Rondo, their center-by-committee and the bench will be determining factors as well. But the biggest factor may be whether Ainge pulls the trigger now or let the Big Three ride in to the sunset together this one last time.
What ever happens, Neil Sedaka was right back in 1962 with the sentiments:
"I beg of you, don't say goodbye
Can't we give our love another try
Come on baby, let's start a new
'Cause breaking up is hard to do"
- Neil Sedaka from "Breaking Up is Hard to Do"