With the Boston Celtics losing six of their last seven games and falling back under .500 comes the inevitable call from anyone with an opinion to get rid of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo, the team trainer and the head of the public relations department.
The "blow the team up" rallies, which disappeared when the Celtics were on their winning streak last month, have coincidentally started up once again with the trade deadline less than a month away. Danny Ainge, however, is not riding the emotional wave that every fan is getting swept up in. (Boston Herald)
Danny Ainge, perhaps even more than most NBA general managers, never will say never when it comes to moving the furniture.
He did it last year by trading Kendrick Perkins for Jeff Green, and now that the Celtics have pitched into a tailspin — they have just one win in their past six games after last night's 89-73 loss to the Mavericks — there's no reason he won't throw the switch again before the March 15 trade deadline.
But the Celtics president also sent out a reminder that he's not paid to panic.
"My feelings haven't changed yet," Ainge said yesterday. "You don't panic when things aren't going well and when your lineup isn't 100 percent."
He's right. The President of Basketball Operations can't make panicked decisions or else he'll doom his team for years to come. He has to make smart, rational decisions that he feels will improve the Boston Celtics, which leads me to the real reason why this Celtics team will remain mostly intact for the remainder of the season.
Ainge is hamstrung.
There's nothing he can really do. Sure, it's easy to talk about trading Kevin Garnett, but he's making $21 million this season and any deal involving him would have to require matching contracts in return. No team in their right mind would trade something of value, something that Ainge would see as a piece that could improve this team drastically right away, for a 35-year-old KG. It's not going to happen. It's the same deal with Paul Pierce, who has almost $50 million left on his current contract.
Rajon Rondo's name has been thrown around like a used, worn-out baseball over the last few months when it comes to trade talks and he is more than likely the most valuable chip that Ainge could play around with. The issue comes back to what the Celtics would get in return. Rondo wasn't enough to bring them Chris Paul. Would it be enough to bring them someone else that would immediately make the C's a title contender. Probably not. Danny would want top dollar for any deal that involves Rondo and the chances of that happening are slim to none.
As for Ray Allen, his contract would probably be the easiest to move. But what would moving him do for the Celtics this year? Would it bring in a guy who can be a difference-maker? Would it take the team to new heights that they never imagined they could reach? Of course not.
As much as blowing the team up sounds great, it's pointless. Blowing it up now doesn't do anything for them this year and the books are pretty much cleared after the season anyway with the major exceptions of Pierce and Rondo. There's nothing the Danny can really do except ride this season out, let these current injuries heal, expect the worst, hope for the best and play with all of that money in the offseason.
Like I said before, Danny Ainge is the President of Basketball Operations for the Boston Celtics. He isn't God.