All good things come to an end, and it is about time for Paul Pierce and the Celtics to go their separate ways..
The news took less than five seconds to deliver, but to the team receiving the news, they knew the ramifications of what they had just been told, and how it would destroy this season, and stretch into the next one too.
The team? The Boston Celtics. The news? All-Star point guard and do it all guy Rajon Rondo had torn his ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) and would miss the remainder of the season.
This spelt out far more to the team though, more than losing any slim hopes they might have had for this season, and at two games below .500 they were extremely slim, it signified the end of an era in Boston.
With Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett having now reached the end of their basketball lives as centrepieces to a team, Rondo, the future of this team, the warrior in the number nine jersey, was meant to lead them out of that period and into a bright new one.
Instead he was felled by injury. Now the need to move into the new era intensifies, as the Celtics need to have something in place, a plan of action, ready for when Rondo returns. Which is why Paul Pierce, needs to do the right thing; seek a trade out of Boston.
Yes you read that correctly. Pierce is a Celtics legend, somebody who embodies everything that they stand for.
He loves the team and would gladly hang around until he retires, giving his all. However at 35, he represents the glorious past of this team, not the brave new world the organization now wants to step towards.
With only one year left on his contract, Pierce could be moved along to a mid-level to contending team in exchange for some very pretty pieces to kickstart the revival in Beantown.
Sure it wouldn’t be a blockbuster trade, but it would seem now that a trade like this is a necessity for the Celtics so that they can finally let go of the ‘Big 3’ era.
If Ray Allen moving along to Miami was the first clue that the winds of change were coming, Pierce’s exit would be a hammer blow to the Celtic’s faithful, but a necessary one. Young talent, draft picks, both would come the Celtic’s way if they just let Pierce go.
At this point it would seem they have to let him go as well, but convincing the player himself would be another matter.
Pierce needs only to look at Steve Nash for inspiration. Nash loved the Phoenix Suns, but recognised that he was too old to carry the team any further, and that stepping aside to ensure long term growth was the right thing to do. Yes family matters came into play as well, but he had his basketball related reasons for leaving.
Even now watching him suit up for the Lakers seems strange, and it hasn’t all been plain sailing for him either, not by any stretch, but Pierce needs to look at this situation and see that if he truly loved the Boston Celtics, he too would walk away from the team he loves, the only team he has ever played for, to ensure their long-term future has at least some sort of brightness to it.
With Pierce clocking a triple double in the double overtime victory over the Miami Heat on Sunday, he proved to everybody that he has still got it. Sadly though, father time waits for no man and it is no longer possible for him to carry the heavy lifting and play hard and well 82 times a year before the playoffs begin. But many teams could do with his service. Sadly though, the Boston Celtics are no longer one of those teams.
It is extremely harsh to treat a legend this way, but Pierce is destined for the Hall of Fame regardless of whether he stays with the Celtics or not. His legacy will not be tarnished, he will forever be known as the player who bled green.
After all, few remember that Michael Jordan played for the Washington Wizards, it didn’t go against him. So while Danny Ainge has a very unenviable task in front of him, it is time to cut ties with one of the greats and move on. Sorry Paul.
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