The possible end of an era?

Pierce and Garnett against the Bobcats in Feb 2013

Since their 2012/2013 campaign ended prematurely, the Celtics have been in one rumour after the other.  First, the rumours started with our captain Paul Pierce, and whether or not he would be with the Celtics next season.  Then speculation moved across to KG and his possible retirement.  All the while, there was growing speculation that Doc might want to step down as the Celtics head coach.  In the midst of these rumours, there was a seemingly “crazy” report that Stephen A Smith came out with, highlighting a trade with the Clippers that included Doc that everyone at the time laughed off at the time.

Fast forward 6 weeks, and now it is looking extremely possible, that a deal along these lines might just happen.

The Clippers-Celtics trade rumour

The Clippers want: the Clippers want both KG and Doc and only want to give up DeAndre Jordan along with one first-round pick. 

The Celtics want: DeAndre Jordan, Eric Bledsoe and 2 first round picks from the Clippers for compensation of trading KG and letting Doc out of his remaining 3-year contract.

The sticking point of this deal apparently, is the inclusion of Eric Bledsoe.  Right now, the talks have stalled as neither team wants to give any ground. It seems like both parties are waiting to see who flinches first.

Boston has no reason to lower their asking price.  The Clippers are the ones that are desperate to get this deal done.  Chris Paul is going to become a free agent this year, with growing speculation of him being lured away to play with Dwight Howard in Texas. Combined with the deep respect he has for both Doc and KG, the Clippers can make sure they lock CP3 up by doing this potential deal.  Another part of this deal would be Paul Pierce possibly coming over to the Clippers as a free agent if he is released by Boston, or traded even.  This gives the Clippers a legitimate shot at contending for a title, and that is not something that is not easily accomplished in the NBA.

The thought of KG, PP and Doc all being part of another team eats me up. If however we do get what we are asking for from the Clippers, we will not get much better than this deal.  Whether we like it or not, Boston is on the cusp of entering a rebuild. Unlike the early 90’s after the original Big 3 retired, we would have A LOT more chips to play with this time round.  If we are able to flip Pierce plus a young piece for a Josh Smith, or an Eric Gordon, on top of what we get back from the Clippers for KG and Doc, that puts us in a good position to combine some assets for a superstar, just like what Danny did in 2007 with KG and Ray.  What we, as fans have learned over the years is never to underestimate Danny once he has assets to play with.

Kevin Garnett and Doc Rivers shake hands

KG has said many times before that Doc is the only coach that he will play with. It is rumoured (quote “NBA sources”) that Doc wants to coach both KG and PP for a contending team; even if that is not in Boston.

Five possible outcomes

With that in mind, I can see five different scenarios play out:

  1. LAC surrenders: The Clippers blink and send the Celtics both DeAndre Jordan and Eric Bledsoe for KG and Doc Rivers, with Paul Pierce joining LAC via a buyout.
  2. An agreed deal: The Clippers and Celtics agree to the deal.  Celtics moved include Paul Pierce, and the Clippers traded include Caron Butler’s $8 million expiring contract. (There would need to be more salary coming back to Boston if this happened).
  3. No deal: The Clippers do not budge and both parties walk away from the deal.  KG and Doc stay with the Celtics, and Danny tries to improve the roster enough to satisfy them.  (Most likely by trading Pierce).
  4. Doc leaves: The Clippers do not budge and Doc, not satisfied with the roster, leaves coaching to go back to broadcasting, forcing KG into retirement.  If this happens, Pierce would be bought out or dealt to kickstart the rebuild.
  5. Taking another shot: Danny brings the whole band back together, and we go into the season with a similar team to last year. (Extremely unlikely).

I am extremely grateful for what the new Big 3 (yes, including Ray) and Doc have done with this franchise over the past six years.  Seeing them on the court together was Celtic pride at its best.  They brought us banner #17 and have attracted a new generation of Celtic fans whilst elevating the Celtics into relevance once again.  If these Celtic greats happen to go to the Clippers next season (which I think ultimately happens), I will be supporting the Clippers in all but 2 games next season.

What do you think will happen to the Celtics next season?  Which route do you think they will take?  Feel free to leave your comments below.


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Big Basketball fan (both player and spectator) - Boston Celtics fanatic, but also follow the whole league. Living in Melbourne, Australia, I am also a big AFL fan, following the Carlton Blues. I have started writing for Celtics Down Under as an opinion columnist - striving to display my in-depth knowledge of the league, and specifically, the Boston Celtics.

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