COMMENTARY | The Boston Celtics are likely in for some drastic changes this offseason following a disappointing season, which ended at the hands of the New York Knicks. It appears that the window has finally closed on this veteran team led by Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, and a major overhaul appears to be on the horizon. This squad simply isn't a title contender, and it's tough to see how they could really get to that level by the beginning of next season.
Changes are almost inevitable, and these changes will likely be fairly significant.
After spending his entire 14 seasons in the NBA in Boston, it is finally time for the Celtics to cut captain small forward Paul Pierce.
Despite delaying the process a few years longer than many would have liked, Danny Ainge is now staring at a rebuilding phase. It's clear that Pierce and Garnett can not carry a team the way they used to be able to, and their supporting cast was clearly exposed throughout this season. Pierce was exposed a little after the Rajon Rondo injury, where the burden of having to be the focal point of a team was just too much. The production was there, but it was obvious that Pierce is far from the player that he once was. With LeBron James and the Miami Heat appearing to have a clamp on the Eastern Conference for the time being, now is the best time to start fresh and cut ties with Pierce.
Pierce is set to earn over $15 million this upcoming season, which is way too large of an amount to pay to an aging veteran on a team that won't be seriously competing. However, Ainge can spare the organization of this financial burden by exercising a $5 million buyout by the end of June. This means that the clock is ticking, and Danny Ainge will need to decide where to take the franchise over the coming weeks.
If Ainge does indeed exercise the buyout on Pierce, the team will have a little more flexibility this offseason, where they could potentially take back some salary as a tradeoff for acquiring younger talent. It is likely that Kevin Garnett will also leave town if Pierce is no longer on the team, providing even further financial relief for the team.
It will be tough to do, but it is time for Danny Ainge to give up on this era of the Boston Celtics. They simply can't compete at a championship level, and a rebuilding phase is necessary. This begins with cutting Paul Pierce and his $15 million salary, although it may be tough to do for a player who has given so much to the franchise over the years. It's certainly not easy to do, but it is needed to get the Celtics back on track at some point within the next few seasons.
Mark lives in the Boston area and has been covering the Celtics for 3 years. He has been featured on Fox Sports Yardbarker, Fox Sports, and Sports Illustrated "Hot Clicks", and has been published on Celtics 24/7, Bleacher Report, and Sports-Kings .
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- Sports & Recreation
- Paul Pierce
- Boston Celtics
- Kevin Garnett
- Danny Ainge