Dismantling the Celtics
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - JERRY SEINFELD: "You know, this is like that Twilight Zone where the guy wakes up and he's the same and everybody else is different."

KRAMER: "Which one?"

JERRY: "They were all like that."

Welcome to the Twilight Zone, Celtics fans.

If the Big Three Era wasn't over already, it definitely is now.

How's this for a blockbuster? Kevin Garnett and Doc Rivers for DeAndre Jordan and a first-round pick.

It almost happened this weekend. And it still might.

And if it does, Paul Pierce would almost certainly join Doc and Garnett in the City of Angels. The Celtics can buy him out for $5 million.

So here are your options, Danny Ainge.

Give us one more year of the good ol' days with Pierce and Garnett or tear it all down Kingdome style until there's nothing left but a mound of rubble and a few tired memories.

Ainge has walked the path of self-destruction before. In February of 2011, he swapped a couple of fan favorites (Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson) for Jeff Green and some guy who doesn't even play in the NBA anymore (Nenad Krstic).

Before that trade, the Celtics had been to the NBA Finals twice in three seasons. They haven't made it back since.

The Celtics have probably been on borrowed time since Ray Allen left, but did it really have to end like this?

Paul Pierce and KG were supposed to retire as Celtics. Seeing them play out their final days in Clippers red and blue instead of Celtics green and white just doesn't seem right.

Pierce and Garnett should be in New England shoveling snow off their sidewalks, not baking in the L.A. sun and sitting in traffic.

In "The Dark Knight," Harvey Dent said, "You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain."

That seems to be what's happening right now in Boston.

The Celtics were a laughing stock when Rivers took over in 2004. Four years later, he led them to a championship and for that, Boston fans will forever be grateful.

But his lack of commitment this summer has rubbed people the wrong way and now if Doc does come back to Boston, he'll be doing it with his tail between his legs.

Rivers, the raspy-voiced sweetheart, the father figure of the Celtics' franchise, has suddenly become the villain. Who would have thought?

Speaking of legacies, what exactly is the Celtics' legacy? Will they be remembered as one of the great teams of the 2000s, or will they fall into the same category as the 1990s Atlanta Braves, a good team that never quite became a dynasty? I'd vote for the latter.

Forget square one. This is square zero.

While Garnett and Pierce are on Craigslist looking for new apartments, Ainge must rebuild the Celtics from the ground up. He'll need to find a new coach (Vinny Del Negro will be waiting by the phone) and an affordable power forward who could serve as a replacement for Garnett. Utah's Paul Millsap (14.6 ppg, 7.1 rpg last season) could fit the bill.

Forgive me for not getting excited about a starting lineup of Avery Bradley, Rajon Rondo (if he's healthy), Jeff Green, DeAndre Jordan and Brandon Bass.

As a native New Englander growing up in the post Larry Bird Era, the Big Three was all I had. Aside from Tommy Heinsohn's bizarre man-crush on Walter McCarty and the occasional Antoine Walker shimmy, things were pretty dull in Beantown until Garnett and Allen arrived in 2007.

Allen was the first to leave and I suppose Garnett and Pierce will be the next ones out the door.

The end was inevitable. Garnett is 37 and Pierce is about to be 36. TD Garden was like Jurassic Park with all the dinosaurs on the court last season.

So why am I still not ready for it?

I remember the '08 playoff run like it was yesterday. In fact, it was five years ago today that the Celtics put the finishing touches on their 17th world championship, beating the Lakers in blowout fashion at The Garden.

It was a heck of a team, but they all moved on.

Maybe I should, too.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Jesse Pantuosco at jpantuosco@sportsnetwork.com.

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