The NBA locked out its players early Friday morning, and some experts believe that we may not see basketball for a long time. That's very bad news for an aging team like the Boston Celtics, who may be in trouble if the lockout takes out an entire season.
Or, it could be a blessing in disguise.
Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen are getting older, and could benefit from a lockout-shortened season. The last time the NBA had a lockout was in 1998-1999, and the league played a shortened 50-game season.
For a veteran team like Boston, this could be great. While you never want to win in a cheap manner, which some may consider the 2011-12 season if it is shortened, they have to play with the cards they're dealt.
However, it seems more likely that the season will be cancelled, similar to the NHL lockout in 2004-05. If that's the case, it does much more damage for the C's.
Should the lockout wipe out the season, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen would both be free agents with no guarantee of either coming back, or wanting to after sitting out for a season for that matter. In all reality, a season-killing lockout could slam the door shut on the Celtics' title hopes with this group. Jeff Clark at CelticsBlog looks at both sides of the debate.
On the bright side, once the lockout is lifted we'll have Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce (presumably well rested but a year older), Avery Bradley, and lots of cap space (depending on the CBA) as well as the rights to 2 years worth of draft picks. Lots of flexibility there.
On the down side, well, how many legitimate chances do you get to compete for a championship? Every year since 2008 we've had at least a shot at a banner. Injuries happen, bad trades happen, bad luck happens, but there's always that shot. To have one last chance stolen away from you because millionaires can't agree with billionaires on how to split up our money doesn't sit too well with me.
Ultimately, Celtics fans shouldn't root for a prolonged lockout, but when faced with one, it's fair to at least consider the positives, right?