With the Boston Celtics off to a sluggish 6-9 start to the season and currently tied for eighth place in the Eastern Conference, rumors have been swirling that General Manager Danny Ainge may decide to break up the team. More specifically, the rumors assume that Ainge could abandon the prospect of competing for a title this season and trade one of his aging veterans (most likely Paul Pierce or Kevin Garnett) in an attempt to get younger and jumpstart the Rajon Rondo era of the franchise.
While a shortened and condensed regular season was expected to work against aging, shallow teams like the Celtics, it is obvious that the team is struggling beyond the schedule. Boston, whose strong defense has been a staple of the team since gaining Garnett, currently has the No. 29 defense in the league, a statistic that may even be inflated because the Celtics have played the fourth-easiest schedule so far. Furthermore, Boston lacks the diverse offensive weapons to attack the stout defenses of the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat — the best in the East.
Even if Ainge could find a suitable trading partner for Pierce (the team’s most likely tradable asset), which would be beyond difficult (Pierce is owed $48 million through 2014), I am here to say that he should refrain. Unless he can pull off a Pierce-for-Josh Smith or Pierce-for-Rudy Gay swap (which are actually trades that could make sense for both sides), the Celtics should see where this team could take them in the playoffs. And really, all they have to do is make the postseason for an outside shot to reach the NBA Finals. Either way, Boston has virtually nobody beyond Pierce and Rondo on the salary cap next season, which is when Ainge should begin the rebuilding process for his storied franchise.
Daily Nexus sports editor Ryan Porush is currently on the trading block. Any takers? Didn’t think so… :(