I couldn’t believe it. The Celtics, who had the second-worst record in the league after the 2006-07 season, were once again in position to either pick No. 1 or 2 in the draft. It’s like the basketball gods finally realized the error of their ways, when the C’s were in position to pick first in the 1997 draft and select Tim Duncan, only to settle for the No. 3 pick in the form of soon-to-be-traded Chauncey Billups.
So, when the ping pong balls once again didn’t bounce the Celtics’ way in 2007 (the C’s won the fifth pick), the wheels were set in motion to pull the trigger on a deal that eventually brought Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett (thanks again, Kevin McHale) to Boston for a mix of raw talent, expiring contracts and draft picks.
And so the second Big Three era was born.
This group was said to have a three year window to win the title. It was accomplished in Year 1. And if not for Garnett’s knee injury the following season, and Kendrick Perkins tearing his ACL in Game 6 of the 2010 NBA finals, the Green may have joined the Lakers and Spurs as the only teams to win multiple championships during the decade. But it didn’t happen, and the page should have been turned following that season, but it wasn’t.
So, here we are.
The Celtics are coming off a season in which they were bounced from the first round of the postseason to a Knicks team who, let’s be honest, was not a title contender. Yes, the Celtics were missing key pieces in Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger, but c’mon, really? The team still relied on the 37- and 35-year-old respective legs of Garnett and Paul Pierce. And that just won’t work.
Now, the opportunity to rebuild is upon us. The Los Angeles Clippers reportedly want Doc Rivers to be their next head coach. Garnett and Pierce may be shipped to the west coast, along with Jason Terry or Courtney Lee. Doc, K.G., and Pierce have done so much for the Celtics franchise, revitalizing the fan base and bringing another banner to Boston.
But the time has come.
DeAndre Jordan, Eric Bledsoe and a first-round pick, or whoever else is included in a trade to Boston, are not going to be the players that win you a title. But they are pieces to a puzzle. Pieces that can help Danny Ainge do what he did six years ago when he swung one of the biggest trades in Celtics history which brought a championship to Boston.