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NBA Trade Rumors: Rebuilding Best Move for Wounded Celtics

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 25:  Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics reacts on the bench in the final seconds of their 123-111 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the second overtime at Philips Arena on January 25, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Jonathan IrwinContributor IIJanuary 28, 2013

In the wake of Rajon Rondo's season-ending injury, there has been an explosion of NBA trade rumors. Translation: Boston is wounded in the water, and the sharks are circling.

CBS Sports' Ken Berger reports today that calls are already coming into the Celtics, with NBA executives dying to get their hands on Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.

It's doubtful that anyone in Boston will admit defeat—the organization is too prideful for that. Berger quotes coach Doc Rivers as saying, "You can write the obituary, but I'm not."

But eventually, reality will set in, and it will seem like just a matter of time until the team is gutted.

Things were bad enough before the Rondo injury. The Celtics are two games under .500 and just barely holding onto eighth place in the East.

Shooting issues have plagued the team all season long, and now without it's star floor general, Boston will face even more challenges on offense.

The Celtics could make a run at a stopgap point guard, but no one is available who could come close to Rondo's double-double production (13.7 points and 11.1 assists per game).

If Boston was having struggles before, even with Rondo, a stopgap might not be enough. If the Celtics can limp into the postseason, it won't be with the makings of a championship-caliber team.

The best thing that the Celtics can do now is blow things up and regroup. Let's face it, a rebuild was inevitable.

Pierce is 35 years old. Garnett is 36. Neither player was going to last in this league forever.

The one good thing about choosing to start over now is that Boston can get some level of return, instead of just seeing its veterans move onto retirement.

Pierce is arguably the more movable of the two. He's a year younger, is owed just $4 million next season and will add an instant scoring punch to any team.

Garnett's contract isn't as flexible—he's owed $18.4 million through the 2014-15 season—but his aggressive defense and ability to play center could be more of a draw for a playoff contender.

And in return, who knows what the Celtics can get away with. Berger muses that Memphis could be suitors for Pierce while the Nets vie for Garnett.

Both teams are at the forefront of the playoff races in their respective conferences and could swing some worthwhile returns for Boston.

Boston recently had its eye on sharpshooter J.J. Redick, and such a move would still be a smart investment.

The Celtics could swing a three-way deal that ensures that they land Redick, giving them two veteran guards to build off of next season—once Rondo returns.

Then, Boston can use another trade—using whoever's left, be it Pierce or Garnett—to land some young building blocks or draft picks.

Now, we get a 2013-14 Celtics team that has Rondo and Redick at the forefront, Avery Bradley and Jared Sullinger waiting in the wings and a plethora of draft picks or other promising rookies.

It's not an ideal situation, and it would still be a couple of seasons before the Celtics truly had a chance to get back on top, but it would certainly accelerate the rebuilding process.

It's never fun to see a once-promising team start over from scratch, but Boston has been moving in circles for some time now.

Rondo going down has forced the team's lineup wide open, but in the end, it could be the best thing for this organization.

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