I’ve written plenty of letters to Danny Ainge in my head over the years, most of them negative. With Rudy Gay wearing purple, not green, I’m breathing a little easier. But with the trade deadline still three weeks away, I’m bracing for the worst.
So, without further ado, Dear Danny: Please don’t trade Paul Pierce. Please don’t trade Kevin Garnett either. It’s quite simple. The Celtics are a mediocre team run by three geniuses: Pierce, Garnett, and Doc Rivers. You can’t make things better, but they can.
It goes like this. During the first half of the Celtics/Kings game the other night, Pierce passes up some open shots, shots I expect him to take, that I look forward to him taking because I know him and I know that when he pulls up from eighteen feet, with or without a hand in his face, he’ll make them. At first I was annoyed to watch this, but then I saw what he was really doing, something that a certain losing Lakers veteran is not doing. He’s giving his teammates a chance to carry some of the burden. I feel good about that.
Now let me get something out of the way by saying of course it’s a bummer to think about a season without Rondo, but it’s also kind of exciting. If you, Danny, don’t dump Pierce and Garnett, and let them work with the pieces they’re left with (with, of course, Doc’s guidance), I think we’ll see in effect a very special thing happen, which is a group of players (the rest of the team) play in a way they’ve never played before and will never again play in their NBA careers.
I’m sick of hearing about the Celtics being old. The average age on the team is 28 and a half. True, that’s on the older side of the league average, but only by about a year. Garnett, Pierce, and Jason Terry are in their 30s (along with Jason Collins, who’s only worth his six fouls), but the rest of the team are a bunch of comparative whippersnappers, young bucks with the best leaders in the Eastern Conference, and maybe the league (San Antonio has it pretty good too). What this means is, they’re all in the position of their lifetime: young and healthy with the sagacious steerage of two of the greatest basketball players of their generation.
Pierce ended up leading the Celtics in scoring against the Kings, but not by much, and five other players also scored in double figures. Along with his sixteen points, he grabbed ten boards and dished out four assists. Garnett’s numbers were similar. Meanwhile, Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee, and a few others were bounding down the court like happy puppies, catching beautiful outlet passes from Pierce and Garnett for easy layups.I can imagine what Pierce might have said in the huddle: ya’ll do the running and good things will happen.
So, Danny. It’s simple. Let good things happen.
P.S. You can trade Terry and Jeff Green and Leandro Barbosa. I want Kendrick Perkins back. And I want Iverson, just so long as KG can keep him on a leash.