Boston Celtics

Have Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett Played Their Last Games for the Boston Celtics?

CHARLOTTE, NC - FEBRUARY 11:  Teammates Paul Pierce #34 and Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics react after a basket against the Charlotte Bobcats during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on February 11, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina. 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 Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Jonathan WassermanNBA Lead WriterMay 4, 2013

The Boston Celtics will be hoping to experience a little more success during the offseason than they did during the regular and postseason. But first they have to decide how they plan on attacking it.

Danny Ainge, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett all have decisions to make.

The Celtics have the option of buying out Pierce's contract for $5 million or paying him $15 million in the final year of his deal. Ainge must decide whether to let him walk or bring him back for a hefty price. If they do choose to retain him, you'd probably be looking at the same roster next year as you see today.

You'd like to think Garnett would play out his contract with Pierce back in Boston (vie WEEI 93.7 FM)

One of the big reasons I came [to Celtics] was because of Paul. Obviously, you want to be in a situation where it’s better. I want to make sure that I’m able to always help a team. I want to be in positions to where I’m giving something. I demand a lot of myself, both physically and from a skill level. But I’d be lying to y’all if I said Paul didn’t play into that factor. Like I said, it’s too soon of a conversation for me right now.

 

Once Paul Pierce's chip falls, Garnett's will follow.

So what's the play? My guess is that this is the end. I just don't see the point in bringing everyone back with no upgrade to the roster. It would be somewhat irresponsible to think that even at full strength this team can compete for a title.

Considering that Rajon Rondo's availability for next season won't be certain, management will have to ask themselves whether this lineup's ceiling is high enough to proceed as is. Because with Piece getting $15 million next season, this team won't have the flexibility or resources to improve the roster.

With regard to the trade market, Danny Ainge has had over a year to explore and pull the trigger on a deal. If he hasn't accepted one already, I'm not sure what will change his mind now.

Celtic fans and management just have to let this one go. It was a memorable run. But the longer they hold on to the present, the tougher it will be to get back on top in the future. 

Besides, if there was ever a time to have a down year, next season is it. The NBA draft class in 2014 is projected to be one of the strongest in recent memory. There will be a number of potential franchise centerpieces who would make one bad season worth it in the long run.

Ainge hasn't hinted which way he's leaning, but the team's fourth quarter against the New York Knicks in Game 6 pretty much summed it up. They made a valiant last push to extend the run, but it just wasn't enough.

I think we've seen the last of Pierce and Garnett in Celtic uniforms.

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