As much as it pains me to write, the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat may not be a rivalry at all. At least, within a year or so. Sure, it will be a big match-up when the C's and Heat meet for the first time since Game 5 of the 2011 Eastern Conference Semifinals -- when LeBron James finally eliminated them in the playoffs. It's on TNT, and it's two of the top four teams in the East going at it.
In one year, it may only be a second-page story.
Miami is on the rise. LeBron and D-Wade are coming off a season in which they came two wins short of an NBA championship. It was disappointing for the Heat, but it was only their first season with the 'new Big Three' as the media has tabbed them. There's still a lot more Finals trips where that came from.
Boston, however, is going in the opposite direction. An aging core of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen came within one game -- one quarter, even -- of winning the 2010 NBA Finals against the Los Angles Lakers after winning in 2007-08, but it's been a downhill road ever since.
Soon, the Celtics could be a lottery team. That's a scary though, but it's certainly possible if they can't swing a trade or sign a marquee free agency this offseason. As a fan, it's not a thought that one wants to grasp. Yet it's reality.
If Danny Ainge can't work his magic, it may be 2006 all over again for Boston.