Blog Entry

Ainge says he's open to trading the Big 3

Posted on: January 19, 2012 11:31 am
Edited on: January 19, 2012 1:17 pm
 Danny Ainge says he'll consider "blowing up" the Big 3 of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore

In comments which should surprise absolutely no one, Danny Ainge told the Boston Globe Thursday that he's prepared to blow up the Big 3 of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce if they could find a deal which will help them transition into the next era of contention through younger players. The Celtics, who have yet to defeat a team over .500 and who snapped a five-game losing streak with a win over Toronto Wednesday night, have looked well past their prime. The team continues to insist it's a matter of conditioning and not necessarily age. But Ainge's comments clearly indicate that he's not willing to hold out until the Celtics' door has been slammed completely shut. From the Boston Globe:
Ainge said he would consider trades if they would net younger talent. He has maintained he does not want the franchise to go through a 10-year span of insignificance as it did following the departures of the previous Big Three of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish, who remained with the team past their primes.

"First of all it’s a different era," Ainge told the Globe. "I sat with Red (Auerbach) during a Christmas party (in the 1990s). Red was talking to Larry, Kevin, and myself and there was a lot of trade discussion at the time and Red actually shared some of the trade discussions. And I told Red what are you doing? Why are you waiting?

"He had a chance to trade Larry (to Indiana) for Chuck Person and Herb Williams and (Steve) Stipanovich and he had a chance to trade Kevin (to Dallas) for Detlef Schrempf and Sam Perkins. I was like are you kidding? I mean I feel that way now. If I were presented with those kind of deals for our aging veterans, it’s a done deal to continue the success."
via Ainge would consider Big Three trade -

If you want to take anything of real note from these comments, it's that Ainge no longer has confidence and faith that this core can contend for a championship. That doesn't mean he's ruled it out, but it means that he's not completely comfortable with the core formed four years ago that sought multiple titles to the most storied franchise in the league (with apologies to the mighty Lakers), and to date have only brought one. That's one more than most players or franchises have ever obtained, but that's not the standard in Boston.

Paul Pierce seems to have very little lift or stamina, as evidenced by a pair of ugly missed layup attempts against the Raptors Wednesday night when Pierce was blocked by the rim. Pierce finished with eight points but did have seven assists vs. the Raptors. Meanwhile, Kevin Garnett has very little lift and is struggling for the first time in the are he has for so long dominated, defense. Ray Allen is still knocking down threes but even he of the ridiculous conditioning has shown the effects of age. It's hard to see this team improving on last year's progress which ended in a quick five games against the Miami Heat

Ainge is faced with tearing down the most successful team of his tenure, and trading multiple Hall of Famers who teams know have eroding abilities and who will likely not have the same motivation outside the warm, family environment of the Boston green, for young players and picks with which to build a new nucleus around Rajon Rondo with. Jeff Green was projected to be a part of that foundation, but his heart condition has left his career up in the air for the foreseeable future, and the Celtics have no other young assets. 

But that's not the only reason Ainge may not be able to get a deal done. The odds are strong the Celtics will go on a tear this season. They'll start playing better, get into better condition, start showing flashes of the old intensity on both sides of the ball. A few significant wins against top teams will create the urge for Aine to stay his hand. The problem is that defeating teams which may not honestly take them very seriously at this point in the regular season is drastically different from the playoffs, and after the brutal intensity of this compacted regular season, the Celtics simply may not have enough left in what is already a depleted tank to make a push once they get to the playoffs, having burned so much fuel just to reach the planet Postseason. 

It's an interesting question to ponder, if the Big 3 are broken up: did they fail? On the one hand, they validated all three of their Hall of Fame entry tickets with a championship, and in the age of free agency, one ring is rarer than ever. But this team had lofty expectations of a dynasty, and instead may walk away with just the one. How can you win a championship with a core, and make another Finals trip, and be considered a failure? The answer to that question lies with the legacy of the name of the front of their uniforms, and though history will judge them individually as giants among mortals, if this is the Big 3's last year together their legacy will be significantly less in stature than what we assumed it would be when confetti rained on them in 2008. 

(HT: SLAM Online)


Since: Apr 14, 2009
Posted on: January 30, 2012 9:00 am

Ainge says he's open to trading the Big 3

LarrieHorse,"BEFORE THE TRADE"...Arsehole. Did you see the way they were playing before that trade? You must have mis-read my comment! It was the best team in the league before the trade, with beating the Heat every game and just about every other team that was a contender. Then Ainge traded the defensive anchor and it was all downhill from there! Next t time try to read the whole post before putting in your two sense. They had the second best record and the best record in the east! How can you tell me they were not the best team? Oh and nice name, douche!

Since: Feb 10, 2007
Posted on: January 20, 2012 4:37 pm

Ainge says he's open to trading the Big 3

Celtic fans are spot on ... KG and Ray were TRADED for .. NOT BOUGHT.  

All of the big 3 have tremendous vaule individually as was stated.

This IS the time to trade any or all of em, including Pierce (as long as it's for youth with potential or future picks) ... even though Celtic fans love them all.

Rick was pretty accurate as to why the Celts demise occurred as well.

The rest of you are either morons or haters and have no clue about the Celtics and their history.

BEST NBA Franchise in the league PERIOD ... 17 championships  ... BLEED GREEN!!!  Yell

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: January 20, 2012 2:21 pm

Ainge says he's open to trading the Big 3

Would love to see him play with Rubio and guys. Can we get rid of Beasley for him or something like that. Wolves need that one player to contend this year and he would be a welcome addition, even if they don't win people would love to see that team up here:)

The Wolves waited a long time for Rubio to join them, I would be shocked if they traded him anytime soon.  I'm not saying he's untouchable because nobody is in sports today, but it would a whole take a lot more then just Beasley to land Rubio. 

Since: Jul 24, 2007
Posted on: January 20, 2012 12:55 pm

Ainge says he's open to trading the Big 3

Jmarcroyal....RIGHT ON. I'm a Celtic fan and have been for 40 yrs. Ainge went for the jugular in 2008 and got it. The Celts were a 1 hit wonder despite the forthcoming accomplishments in 2009, 2010, 2011. All you hear about is Ainge inploding the team now to build young. Get a grip people, the Big 3 didn't win the championship in 2008 because of KG, Allen, and Pierce. The team won because Posey, House, Powe, Tony Allen, and Davis had superior supporting roles, played smothering defense, knocked down huge shots, and played with amazing chemistry. The team was imploded with their exit and furthermore the team was destined to fail with Ainge's feeble attempt to think Rasheed Wallace, Marbury, and Finlay were going to be elixor for another championship. Face it folks...the ring was in 2008 and this team is going no where. It's going to take more than parting ways with the Big 3. There is no chemistry on this team.         

Since: Dec 29, 2011
Posted on: January 20, 2012 7:43 am

Ainge says he's open to trading the Big 3

Of course Pierce's still good, redwings1969.  He was one of the ten most effecient offensive players in the NBA last season. He's shooting 39% because he got injured before training camp then rushed back the fourth game of the season because they lost 3 straight.  Once his heel is right and his "in season training camp" is finished he'll be fine.
In re Garnett, that's age and injury. He's no longer KG. He can't be the Man. 
Ray Allen is still an excellent offensive role player. He can get you 20 on catch and shoots.

But. I don't think the actual value of trading any of these guys outweighs the value of keeping them in Boston unless you can include an expiring contract (KG or Ray) in a deal with Rondo to get a super star and or a really high draft pick.
Pierce is going to be fine, but if he stays hurt, you have the amnesty still, and if not, he's very productive.

In the end though, I completely disagree with Ainge on the fist point of his argument.
He claims that the Celtics didn't trade Bird, Mchale and Parrish and that that caused the Celtics to collapse after 1992.
That's a commonly held belief around here but it's actually just another case of hisorical revisionism due to simplification and forgetfulness, though in this case the forgetfulness can be excused because it's actually painful memories.
Let me tell you what really happened to the Celtics.

Their 1986 first round draft pick DIED right after the draft. 3rd overall. Len Bias.
Their 1987 first round draft pick DIED in 1993 after becoming their best player and an All Star. Reggie Lewis.  
They failed to make a single decent trade, sign a signifcant prime age free agent, or draft any other above average NBA players from the years 1988-1995. 
They drafted Antoine Walker in 1996 who was an above average NBA starter... but a wild one.
Then they failed to get a starter with the 3rd and 6th pick in 1997. Neither guy. total whiff. Both were gone in a year or 2. 
They drafted Paul Pierce in 1998, finally getting a real star player. 15 years after they got their last one (who didn't die) which was Mchale.
They went on from there to completely fail at drafting decent players while in the lottery, wasted top 11 picks on Kedrick Brown and Jerome Moiso, signed guys like Travis Knight and Tony Battie, and then drafted and traded Joe Johnson for a can of beer and a bag of chips.
 In that time they got to the conference finals one year on Paul's heroics and Antoine's random idiot savant playing along with help from Kenny Anderson and Rodney Rogers in a weakened east. They made the playoffs one other time. 
Then Ainge took over the team.

And that's what happened to the Celtics.   

Now, I also disagree with what Ainge is IMPLYING by suggesting the Celtics should have traded Bird.
The Celtics exist as a valueable franchise only because of their great tradition. Without that they're just another team.
By suggesting that the Celtics should have traded Bird for Detlef Shrempf and Chuck Person, Ainge is failing to recognize that aspect of the team's identity.  Basically, Boston fans would have rather lost for 20 straight years than see Bird in another uniform. Not Mchale, Not Parrish and sorry Ainge, we weren't all that sad to see you go either. But Bird? No way. HE WAS THE ONLY REASON ANYONE LIKED THE CELTICS.

The other aspect of that is that Chuck Person's output declined from 1989 to 1992 after which point he really fell off. We would have had him under contract for HIS decline, Ainge, instead of having LARRY BIRD and then that salary cap space free. And we all HATED Person because he mouthed off to Bird.  I usually defend Ainge, but that would have been a horrible idea. Person would have been booed mercilessly in the garden as a Celtic averaging 10 points a game. Schrempf was an above average NBA starter for 7 more years after the hypothetic "proposed trade"  Not having him instead of Bird's free cap space didn't ruin the team. What I explained above did.

Since: Dec 29, 2011
Posted on: January 20, 2012 6:08 am

Ainge says he's open to trading the Big 3

Asking if this team "failed" is ridiculous in itself.
2008 World Champs
2009 Lost to East Champs in Semis (minus Garnett)
2010  Lost Finals in Game 7 (minus Perkins - w/ diminished KG) (game handed to Lakers by officials, watch the video)
2011 Lost to East Champs in Semis (Whipped)

So when they were signed in 2007 the common perception was that the window was 3 years.
That perception was basicaly correct.
And in those three years they went to 2 finals, had some great play off wins, nearly beat Orlando without KG, had that great 7 game series with Chicago, Pierce's great duel with Lebron, Rondo's triple doubles, The great Atlanta series, Beating La of course, Baby's game winner, Ray going for 50, Coming back against Cleveland in 2010,  and even last year when they whipped the Knicks.

All of these things are sucesses, without even mentioning that had KG not been injured things would have been completely different.
All those moments are what sports fans crave. Winning? Yes. Relevance? Definitely. Great memories.
And had Ainge not made those 2 deals in 07 we'd have had none of it.

So absolutely an unqualified success. We knew we were getting the tail end of the careers of 2 excellent players to pair with Pierce and it worked. Boston hoops ceased to be a sad 18 game losing streak type of story and we all got to enjoy it again.

Since: Jan 4, 2009
Posted on: January 20, 2012 5:12 am

Garnett to WOLVES :)

Would love to see him play with Rubio and guys. Can we get rid of Beasley for him or something like that. Wolves need that one player to contend this year and he would be a welcome addition, even if they don't win people would love to see that team up here:)

Since: Oct 24, 2006
Posted on: January 20, 2012 3:31 am

Ainge says he's open to trading the Big 3

I find the posters on here not in touch with reality.  Ainge is dead on, and I find his comments timely considering many of us Celtics posters have been discussing this for awhile. 

Each of the big three are huge assets to a team on the edge, needing to fill key roles. ...and they will be happy too to have a final chance to win one more with another team.  When they retire, they will be Celtics for life.  Its how we roll in the Shamrock.  They have earned all our respects, and they know this too.

Ray would deliver deadly outside scoring.

KG would deliver a mentality and defensive presence paired with a big

Pierce would be a amazing crunch time "make your own offense" addition.


Combined as a starting 3 they are older, but as individual pieces, the bring production and confidence and experience.


This is Danny's shot across the bows of those other GM's.


Should be interesting

Since: Jan 20, 2012
Posted on: January 20, 2012 1:00 am

Ainge says he's open to trading the Big 3

Your a moron! We traded years with of players and picks for kg and a top 5 pick for ray ray! We didn't have our players lobbying to get people here out GM was smart and worked out deals! Be smarter when you talk moron! Still have the most championships ever!

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: January 20, 2012 12:36 am

Ainge says he's open to trading the Big 3


Ray Alen was 32 years old and coming off 2 consecutive seasons of averaging 25 and 26 points per game with around 4.5 rebounds and 4 assists.  Top 10 or not, that was one hell of a player and worth more then just the number 5 overall pick in the draft.  And look up that trade, the Celtics got a lot more then Allen in that trade.   Garnett and Pierce were damn good players as well.....

The way the NBA is set up small market teams feel forced to trade star players before they can leave as free agents or they get nothing in return for their investment.  The teams I'm talking about NEVER get market value and the team trading for these star players almost always makes out like a bandit, they basically rob the team forced to dump their superstar.

No, the Celtics didn't ruin the NBA because the NBA has been destroying itself for quite a few years now.  But are teams trying to copy what Boston did? Absolutely.  Is it Boston's fault the NBA and its owners didn't have the balls to lock these guys out for 2 years until they agreed to a hard cap?  No it's not.  But it's not Miami's fault either or anybody else out there trying to put a "dream team" on the court.   It's the NBA's fault for allowing it to happen... 

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