Blow it up. Trade Rajon Rondo. Dump the Big Three. These are the three most common phrases being spewed from the mouths of discontent Boston Celtics fans. And while their anger is certainly understood, none of those plans would help the Celtics right now.
Things aren't going the Celtics' way, this we all know. Boston is now one game under .500 at 15-16 and is barely hanging onto a playoff spot at the moment (they're currently in eighth place in the Eastern Conference). Yes, the Big Three are over the hill and are showing clear signs of slowing down. Rajon Rondo's attitude is becoming an issue again -- he was suspended two games for chucking a ball at a referee. Losing is now the norm.
Still, blowing it up doesn't work. Sorry, Celtics fans. It simply does not.
Washed up or not, you likely won't be able to move the Big Three for a player of real value. Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen are all still talented despite their old age (basketball old, that is), and all certainly still have trade value. Sure, the Celtics could find deals to move all three, but for what? No GM in their right mind will give up a young player with a bright future or a high draft pick for any of them, even if they would aid a contending team down the stretch.
At best, you would be able to get players of equal or less value with large, expiring contracts. And really, what good does that do? In the Big Three, the Celtics already have two big expiring contracts -- Garnett and Allen -- and it doesn't really make sense to move them for minimal gain.
Danny Ainge would be better off keeping the Big Three at this point through the end of the season. Whether or not he should have hung onto this group for so long is a different argument all together, but in this situation, it's probably best to keep them. Again, you just won't find players of greater value, let alone equal value, for them at this point.
Then, there's the plight of Rondo. It's no secret that Rondo has an attitude about him that some don't look at kindly (maybe he could get an attitude adjustment from John Cena?). Rondo throws a ball at a referee here, makes an unpleasant comment there. It's clear that Rondo is reverting to the maturity level he had as a rookie, right?
Wrong. Rondo is upset, that much is certainly true. But unlike other selfish superstars, Rondo isn't upset because he isn't getting his minutes or isn't getting a chance to score. All indications point to Rondo being upset because the Celtics are losing. When things don't go the Celtics' way, that's natural. You don't want a player who is content with losing.
Could he handle his discontent differently? Of course. He's being looked upon as the future leader of the Celtics, and there's a reason for that. Like him or not, Rondo is one of the best point guards in basketball. For my money, he's the best pure point guard. You don't see passing like that elsewhere. Offensively, he leaves a lot to be desired.
But you don't trade someone solely based on attitude. What if the Red Sox did that right from the start with Manny Ramirez? There's a chance they would not have won the World Series in 2004 or 2007. Rondo's attitude hasn't been effecting his level of play recently. If anything, the anger has been fueling it. He's been on a roll in recent weeks.
Rondo is just that type of player. What you see is what you get, and what I see is an extremely talented guard with a high ceiling that has many years left of outstanding production who happens to have a bit of an attitude issue. So what? It's the NBA, that's just what you get.
So please, think before you email Ainge asking him to trade Rondo for a bag of basketballs or break up the Big Three so JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore can develop. Given the circumstances, it isn't beneficial for anyone. The best route for Ainge is to try and swing a minor trade to improve the bench or sign a guy like GIlbert Arenas to help out in that category and let this team run its course. Who knows? If the Big Three and Rondo are healthy come playoff time, and the C's bench finally gets into a groove, who's to say they can't beat the Heat or the Bulls? Anything is possible.
Granted, if Ainge can find a way to trade for Dwight Howard or a similar franchise-altering player this season, a premise that is extremely unlikely, you practically have to do it. Chances are that deal doesn't exist, though, and you have to let this group try to reach their maximum potential. If it doesn't work out, and it likely won't, you regroup in the offseason.
This group is what it is. Blowing it up won't change anything now. Let's see how it plays out.