Celtics, Ainge Go For Broke

By Tom Donelson
Updated: August 6, 2007

Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen

Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen

IOWA CITY, Ia. — The Boston Celtics have forsaken the youth movement and adopted a “the future is now” mentality. General manager Danny Ainge and head coach Glenn “Doc” Rivers have concluded, the future is no longer safe.

On draft day, they obtained All-Star Ray Allen from Seattle and Ainge put together a new grand vision, which was good since the old grand vision went to hades in a hand basket.

Having deciding to lose as many games as possible to get as many ping pongs as possible with the idea of gaining either Kevin Durant or Greg Odom, the Celtics saw this plan go aground. Instead, they ended up drafting fifth and suddenly the first great vision went down the toilet.

Minnesota’s Kevin Garnett first told the Celtics no way and now suddenly the Celtics were looking for yet another season without any playoffs appearance.

However, Garnett found himself without a suitor as his attempt to get to Phoenix or Los Angeles failed due to the NBA machinations and salary caps. He was stuck in a losing situation in Minneapolis.

Ainge faced seeing his reign ending in Boston and Kevin McHale was in equal trouble in Minneapolis, knowing that Garnett was soon to be gone from the TImberwolves.

Ainge traded his fifth draft pick for Ray Allen with the idea of convincing Garnett that he could make it to the NBA Finals, if he came to Boston. He gave away essentially his youth for Garnett in a seven for one deal including two draft picks.

The big gamble has now occurred. Boston has three stars over the age of 30 and basically no depth. But in the NBA’s Eastern Conference, this gamble is worth the risk.

Garnett never had a complimentary star with the status of Paul Pierce or even Ray Allen. Both have had injury filled years and many are questioning whether either stars have not reached the south side of their careers.

Yet, both players still have years left and Garnett has been one of the most productive stars in the NBA and even led the Timberwolves to the Western Conference finals in 2004 before losing to the Shaq and Kobe Lakers.

Combine Garrett with Pierce and Allen and suddenly, you have a NBA contender.

The East is still weak. The Pistons have their nucleus together, but they fell apart in the East finals and the question remains, can this team still hold together for one more year?

The Heat have Shaq and Dewayne Wade but it is a team built for a even a shorter term than the Celtics. The Cleveland Cavaliers are essentially Lebron James and 11 other guys.

Their weakness were exposed in the Finals and this season, King James and his teammates may find themselves behind the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls are a young team that is starting to jell and ready to challenge the rest of the East.

One more thing: The Eastern Conference has won two of the last four NBA titles and came within a seventh game of winning another NBA title.

If the Celtics do make it to the finals, they still have a 50% chance of winning it all.

Garnett, Pierce, Allen, and their sidekicks could lead the Celtics to the promise land. If nothing else, McHale has been given Boston’s future stars and draft picks with one more chance to rebuild his team.

At least, he got one future all pro in Al Jefferson, a few role players and two more chances in the draft to garner more stars. This was one of those possible win-win for both franchises.

Boston has been one of the cornerstone franchises in the NBA, but for the past two decades, this once proud franchise has fallen on hard times.With Garnett, Ainge is hoping what other successful franchise have been able to do — attract other good players.

In the NBA, sometimes star players with a few years left are willing to play for potential playoffs teams for less if they feel the opportunity is there for a title. Gary Payton went to the Lakers and the Heat at the end of his career simply because the opportunity was there for a title.

With the Lakers, he failed to garner that ring but he succeeded with the Heat.

The Celtics are hoping that Garnett is the new magnet to attract other veterans with a something left in the tank, willing to work a little cheaper.

Ainge’s wager is “the future is now.”