|Boston Celtics President Basketball operations Danny Ainge|
The pessimism that is surrounding the NBA lockout talks appears to be neverending. As the chances of any season this year are dwindling away with the turning of the calender, as are the Boston Celtics' chances of continuing their recent successes on the back of the big three.
Last season, the Celtics looked old and slow as they were ousted by the Miami Heat in the NBA playoffs.
With so much money tied up in Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, the club's roster won't be getting any younger without major changes. Those changes get harder and harder to make the longer that the lockout runs.
Should the Celtics look to trade Garnett, Allen or even Pierce, their value would significantly drop as they close towards their retirement date. The team could potentially be stuck with the trio permanently as the players will all reach a point where no suitors would exist no matter the price.
The amount of money invested in the team's big three is more than substantial once the season returns. Kevin Garnett is the team's highest paid player earning over $21 million. While Garnett has had a stellar career, he is 35 years of age.
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Fortunately the Celtics are only tied to Garnett for one more season. He is unlikely to be re-signed after his injury riddled past few seasons. However that loss poses another issue for the team. How do they go about replacing a player that was a vital cog in two finals appearances and one championship.
Even for one season, Garnett doesn't have much value to the team anymore. He is not the dominant player that he once was. The longer that the NBA lockout lasts, the further Garnett gets from his prime.
While Ray Allen's age doesn't appear to be a problem as he remains one of the fittest players in the league. Allen's outside shooting alone is worth the $10 million that he is owed for his final season, but he has been a key player in recent years who probably won't be re-signed past his current deal.
There was some talk at the end of last season, that Paul Pierce could be featured from the bench in the coming years. While Pierce would be an excellent sixth man in all likelihood, that role would not reflect value for the huge contract that he has.
Pierce is 34 years old and has three years remaining on his contract earning over $15 million per season.
The Celtics will be happy that they have their star point guard, Rajon Rondo, tied up for the next four years at least on a relatively low salary.
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However, outside of Rondo, and Jeff Green, the Celtics have essentially no youth on their roster with any quality NBA experience. Glen Davis is no longer under contract and will be difficult to re-sign at a reasonable rate.
With Vonn Wafer also available to other teams, and most of the other team's free agents unlikely to return, the Celtics roster will need a lot of work once the Lockout comes to an end.
Hopefully for Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers, that end will come sooner rather than later. Despite how bleak that possibility appears.