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NBA Boston Celtics

What if Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett Had Stayed with Boston Celtics?

Pierce and KG

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

In case you were somehow unaware, let me be the first to inform you of some big news. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett do not play for the Boston Celtics anymore. I know, it’s shocking. The Big Three era is long gone and championship aspirations have all gone their separate ways, leaving the Celtics at the hands of Rajon Rondo.

Despite the likelihood of blowing up the team at the end of last season (which was very high), Celtics fans and analysts began buzzing about the same thing they had been since about 2010: one more run.

Once again we had to hear about the age of the team and get buzzwords like “youthfulness”, “effectiveness”, “spryness”, “title window” and “father time” shoved into our ears. However, in the past all the talk was just talk and Boston reloaded with whoever they could find to give things another shot. However, we knew the end was finally upon us once Doc Rivers left town for the Los Angeles Clippers (a group he thinks will be better than any team he’s ever coached.)

But what if Garnett and Pierce did what they always did and stuck it out for that “one more run”? Could the Celtics really contend for another year? Would it at least be better for their legacy if they stayed?

In short, no.

The only thing Garnett and Pierce would have to return to is the same rag-tag group from last year, give or take Kelly Olynyk. While a healthy Rondo and Jared Sullinger would be nice, it wouldn’t be enough to make Boston a legitimate threat again.

On top of that, the duo would be without Rivers. Watching KG take orders from Brad Stevens, a month his younger, would just be too strange to be effective. Really, the only good thing that would come from that is Stevens’ coaching ability.

Instead of hanging around another year, Pierce and Garnett realized what no one wanted to admit: The glory days in Boston were over. Right now, the Celtics have a bright future, but two veterans would have only slowed that down.

It would have been borderline saddening watching two legends dwindle away their final playing years on a team that couldn’t give back half of what they were putting in. Garnett and Pierce didn’t wait until free agency to take off; they left via trade. This gave them a little more time to contend and the Celtics some hope for tomorrow. Sad as it was, the departure of the “Big 2” was what needed to be done. It had to happen sometime, and the longer it got put off, the worse it would be when it finally came to pass.

Will it be truly bizarre seeing “Pierce” on the back of a Nets jersey? Sure. The Garden will be a lot quieter without KG’s screams echoing down the halls. But all good things must come to an end. If Garnett and Pierce had stuck around a little longer, it would be painful to watch. In conclusion, the two Celtic icons gracefully quit while they were ahead. That was what was best for everyone.