It’s at times like this that Danny Ainge needs to behave like the snake that Antoine Walker once declared him to be.
This summer, Ainge needs to promise Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce that they are part of the Celtics' future.
“Whatever you want, guys! You call the shots around here!”
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He needs to promise them that they will be Celtics as long as they both shall live.
“Hell, play here until you’re 50! We don’t care! Wyc and I love you two too much to see you go!”
Of course, after they both accept, Ainge should then turn around and trade Pierce at next February’s NBA trade deadline for something, ANYTHING of the young variety, and then ask Garnett if he wants to play the last few months of his career rebuilding without his buddy Paul in Boston or if he wants to play for a legit title contender in the spring of 2014.
Unlike this past February, Ainge should force Garnett’s hand in order for the Celtics to get something, ANYTHING in return.
As it stands now, and has been the case for a few years now, this is still the Celtics’ best shot at building towards another title: get younger by trading off the big contracts of the NBA elderly. The C’s brass already failed to do so with Ray Allen, letting him go for nothing and they are now dangerously close to doing the same with Garnett and Pierce.
Yes, there is another route proposed by many: let Garnett retire gracefully this summer and buy out Pierce. Unfortunately, that scenario won’t clear Boston’s books in the least bit. The Celtics still won’t have any wiggle room with what should be a $59 million cap next year, even if Pierce and Garnett’s contracts are “gone.” Hopes of bringing back Al Jefferson or signing Rajon Rondo’s buddy, Josh Smith, are all but dashed given the way the C’s finances are presently constructed. Rondo, Jason Terry and Brandon Bass are all signed through 2015. Jeff Green and Courtney Lee are here even longer. Unless Ainge can find multiple NBA office suckers, this money problem isn’t going away.
So, once again, for what seems like the 25th year in a row, the Celtics are being all but forced to get the band back together. Ainge should have dealt Pierce and Garnett at this past year’s trade deadline if for no other reason than both of their values were high. The Celtics boss hinted that the proposals he was getting in return for Pierce and Garnett weren’t anything great, but he has to remember that every single day that PP and KG inch closer to the age of 40, that value takes a hit. He needs to be a realist. Nine months from now those proposed deals are sure to be weaker, but Ainge has to get something, ANYTHING, for them this time around.
If that means, conning No. 5 and No. 34 into coming back for one more hopeful joyride in 2013-14, so be it.
Follow Metro Boston sports editor and columnist Matt Burke on Twitter: @BurkeMetroBOS