June 1, 2012; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics small forward Paul Pierce (34) talks with point guard Rajon Rondo (9) and forward/center Kevin Garnett (5) during the third quarter against the Miami Heat in game three of the Eastern Conference finals of the 2012 NBA playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
If you were curious as to what spurred the Celtics scramble to rebuild so abruptly this season, I may have something that will clear some things up for you. Paul Pierce talked about why the Celtics’ management chose to break up the Big Three era and take a new, longer route on the path back to the NBA Finals.
Pierce said that Rajon Rondo’s injury had a lot to do with Kevin Garnett and himself being traded. He said that it was obvious that the Celtics weren’t going to be competing this year. When Doc Rivers was traded, the writing was on the wall. An era was all but over.
Here’s what Pierce told the Boston Herald:
"“It would be hard to contend,” Pierce told the Herald on the last day of his camp at Basketball City in the shadow of the TD Garden. “I saw the vision. I saw all that. As a player I’m selfish. I want what’s going to be good for me and the team. But you’ve got to look at the management looking at what’s down the road. If it’s up to me I would want to rebuild to win a championship by bringing players in. They were looking at the future, down the line.“Rajon might not be here for the beginning of the year or however long he takes, so it would be tough for us to be a contender or get into a position to contend. Everybody saw that and I think that helped the decision on both sides.”“It was like a domino effect,” Pierce said. “It was like (the Rondo injury) was there and then Doc. When you put all that stuff together, you know the writing was on the wall.”"
That brings one to wonder: had Rajon Rondo never gotten injured, would Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett all still be in green? There seems to be probable cause to think so. Of course, we’ll never exactly know the truth to that question.
Even if Rondo doesn’t get hurt, the Celtics still would’ve been one of the bottom three seeds in the Eastern Conference. They wouldn’t have been competing and would’ve been a middling team wandering in basketball purgatory. That isn’t an ideal situation for any team that has championship aspirations.
Having Pierce and Garnett as Celtics for the rest of their careers would’ve been a grand thing, but that is just something that wasn’t able to happen. And you know what? That’s okay. Dwelling on the past here isn’t going to change things in the past and it also wouldn’t change things as far as the future goes.
Hopefully, the move was for the best for both sides, just as Pierce said. Only time will tell, but all we can do for now is believe that to be the truth.