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: Feb 10, 2007
Posted on: January 19, 2012 6:31 pm

Ainge says he's open to trading the Big 3

As for Perkins ... the Celtics actually dodged a bullet by not resigning him.  His knees are balky and his only value is toughness and defense, and he's really only effect on the slower big guys.   Other than that ... he turns the ball over way too much, he has a quick temper and picks up the dumbest tech fouls on teh planet, he fouls too often under the basket, he has no shot what so ever other than dunking .. and even then he usually double-pumps as he's too dumb and hasn't progressed to learn to catch the ball high and go rigth up with it.  He absoultely sucks at the free-throw line ... did I miss anything.   Trust me .. the C's can do much better going forward with the $9 mill he woulda taken up.

As for Rondo ... he has his upside, but he clearly has ego problems.  I can't believe he hasn't vastly improved his FT and perimeter shooting by now.   At this point, I've almost given up that he'll ever be able to improve on these areas.   He's at his best when he's dishing the ball, moving on the fast break, and picking his spots to drive to the basket.   But when he gets shot happy, it hurts the entire team.  Another pet peave is his end of quarter play .. he usually waits waaay to long to get a play going and ultimately has to take a bad shot or ends up passing it to a player at the last second forcing them to take a poor shot as well .. another thing he should have learned by now.   Also ... for a PG, he turns the ball over waaaay to much as well.

If I was Ainge .. i'd find a way to get something of value back for the Big 3 in the way of younger players / prospects and #1 picks in 2016 or beyond.   I'd also try to strike a sign and trade deal with New Jersey for Deron Williams and trade Rondo straight up if they would go for it.   And then I'd build around Williams with the crazy cap space.   JMO .... it sounds like Ainge knows what he's doing and it going about it in a professional way .. this is a business.

All the best to the Big 3 .. but it's time to rebuild and get something of value while we can.


Since: Feb 10, 2007
Posted on: January 19, 2012 6:17 pm

Ainge says he's open to trading the Big 3

Paul 'The Truth' Pierce is one of my all time favorite ... the guy played through the horrid years and didn't complain once.  He brought a championship to Boston against the hated .  He's done it all like a true warrior and I would love to see him retire as a Celtic one day ... but ....

That said .. he's making $15.33 this year .. $16.79 next and $15.33 mill the year after.  The Celts are clearly not going anywhere this year and will most definitely go into full rebuild after this season.

So .. regardless of my undying appreciation of what Pierce has meant and done for the Celtics ... Boston would be CRAZY not to trade him if they have interested parties with something decent to give back.  Start the rebuilld NOW ... and in the process, give Paul another chance to win with another contender.  It would be very good for both parties, as much as I'd hate for him to go.

In addition ... and KG should also be available.  And trust me, teams would be lining up for their services as well. 

The Celts are already lined up to have mega cap space this summer at around $34 mill committed.  Trading Pierce would take em down to $18 million or so ... and they would be rid of all major contracts and older players.  Rondo's very reasonable contract would be the only significant figure and he's only making 11,12, and 13 mill over the next three seasons.

Bass would go to PF .. and the Celts could resign Green (assuming he's recovered) to a reasonable deal (with the health risk) and he could play SF.  After that ... C's can fill out the roster from scratch with solid young players ... and they don't have to do it all at once.  Take 2-3 years if you have to .. no need to rebuild overnight as Chicago will be a force for the next few years.    Endure a couple of building years and in 4 years they could be very compeititive again.  

Cs can eat some of KGs / Rays / or Pierces contract (this year).  If they trade with a contender, take back #1 picks in 2016 or beyond (as thier #1 pick wouldn't mean as much now) along with expiring contracts to offset the trade.  Promising D-League players or promising rookies on the low end of the depth chart right now.   Anything that could help em build for the future and keep all their cap space for this summer.

As much as I don't want Pierce or any of the big 3 to go .. this makes all the sense in the world.   And Pierce will still get his number retired in Boston when he retires from the NBA .. you can bank on that ... or maybe he comes back later after his contract expires and provides veteran leadership off the bench.  


Since: Feb 21, 2011
Posted on: January 19, 2012 5:35 pm

Ainge says he's open to trading the Big 3

Give me KG

Since: Jul 24, 2007
Posted on: January 19, 2012 5:29 pm

Ainge says he's open to trading the Big 3

KG has diminished since the knee dilemma 2 yrs ago so his value is reduced especially the way he's playing this season. Did I say value???? a 21 million dollar salary. Allen, the best 3 pointer on the planet can't expect to toss up 10 3's a game to keep the Celts close and his legs are aging. Pierce is the most valuable and it's highly unlikely Ainge would trade a career Celtic. Without Pierce the Celts are worthless. Whatever the scenario, it's not pretty. Celtic pride is built on chemistry and currently this team has a new bench and zero chemistry. A team implosion is basically asking for the Celts to forget the playoffs until 2015........but there currently isn't much to work with.  

Since: Oct 29, 2010
Posted on: January 19, 2012 5:23 pm

Ainge says he's open to trading the Big 3

Always sad to see a player that has contributed so much to a franchise not being able to finnish there. Sometimes the player has to know when his career is over, and just gracefully retire.I cried when Mays went to the Mets. Montana to the Chiefs, Emmitt to the Cards. Time to hang it up and go out with class. Celtics need to do something, but I hope Pierce retires in Boston.

Since: Nov 24, 2006
Posted on: January 19, 2012 5:07 pm

Ainge says he's open to trading the Big 3

lakers day isnt that far off either....

Since: Nov 24, 2006
Posted on: January 19, 2012 5:04 pm

Ainge says he's open to trading the Big 3

I agree with all that think Ainge should be fired. He took what essentially was the best team in the league last year
Best team in the League???  OMG that is just silly

Since: Jun 26, 2008
Posted on: January 19, 2012 4:22 pm

Ainge says he's open to trading the Big 3

Bird was solid until the end. Mchale was done years prior and untradeable. Chief had more good time in league diminished but still solid. Things were not done like they are now with no loyalty and no courage. When I was a kid those players would play through everything. Hamstring? Never heard of it back then. Chief would have gotten a high price were he going away today. And larry at a 20 pt 10 board pace in his final year would have been given the world to remain.

Since: Jul 1, 2010
Posted on: January 19, 2012 4:16 pm

Ainge says he's open to trading the Big 3

keep living the dream!!!!

Since: Feb 23, 2009
Posted on: January 19, 2012 4:01 pm

Ainge says he's open to trading the Big 3

You don't trade Pierce. Celtic for life.
It was nice that Red was loyal to Bird, McHale and Parrish (although Chief did go to the bulls), but this is a different time.
This is the free agency era. Players are whinny little children about being traded.
Players are not loyal, so teams shouldn't have to be.
Get what you can for KG and Ray, even if it's just draft picks. We need to get younger.

The point that Ainge should be fired for trading Perk? No.
Celtics had the best record in the east and were doing just fine without Perk (he was chronically injured).
The gamble blew up when Shaq could not sustain and play in the playoffs. But did Perk play in the playoffs for Thunder?

In hindsight, Shaq couldn't play, Jeff Green has a heart condition, and Perkins got motivated and lost 20 lbs.
It looks bad, but there was no way for Ainge to see any of this.

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