My Take: A Portfolio of Sports Writing by Chad Kettner

A portfolio of sports writing by Chad Kettner.

The Celtics are Moving Forward

Posted by Chad Kettner on August 14, 2007

When Kevin Garnett was traded from the Minnesota Timberwolves to the Boston Celtics, many NBA columnists, basketball experts, and message board “gurus” (as we often think of ourselves) discussed the age-old argument of “future prospects” versus “winning now.”

We all can agree that Danny Ainge traded away many talented young players for one superstar in return. What we seem to disagree on, however, is whether it was worth it or not.

I’ll recap the trade for you who don’t know the specifics:

Boston received: Kevin Garnett

Minnesota received: Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Sebastian Telfair, Theo Ratliff, and two future first-round draft picks

To add to that, the Ray Allen trade with the Sonics must also be put into consideration. The Celtics obtained Ray Allen on a draft-day deal along with the 35th overall pick (Glen Davis) for Delonte West, Wally Szczerbiak, and the fifth overall pick (Jeff Green).

So, with the two deals being made, the Celtics gave up six players under 25 years of age that are packed with potential, two extra draft picks, and a guy who has averaged over 15 ppg for his career. All of this for two aging superstars and a second-rounder.

The question of “was it worth it” cannot be answered now. However, in five years, we’ll all know whether this was the greatest trade of all-time or the biggest fire-sale in history.

The Celtics had a very talented young squad that, quite frankly, wasn’t going anywhere. Last year, these “studs” were fighting for the rights to Gred Oden or Kevin Durant rather than fighting for any chance of making the playoffs. Sure, Gerald Green will be a star one day soon, Al Jefferson will be a star one day sooner, and Jeff Green might be the name Celtics fans hate to see for years to come. However, while the future is always loaded with prospects and players with potential, the “now” is the most important thing of all.

Right now, the Celtics have three superstars all eager to win a championship.

Whether they can do it with a major lack of a supporting cast is the real question. If the Celtics go on to the NBA Finals three times in the next five years, it was worth it. If they win the Finals once in the next five years, it was worth it. If the Celtics become and remain a big name in the Eastern Conference for the next five years, it was worth it.

Winning is always more important than the future, because the future is usually built on the “now.”

Many young teams know the struggles that are faced with young players and potential. They always have them, but they rarely hold on to them throughout their prime. Along with that, no established vet wants to join a team with potential over the chance to be a part of a championship contender. There is a reason why Antoine Walker, James Posey, and Gary Payton wore Miami jerseys last year; there is a reason Karl Malone and Gary Payton joined the Lakers in 2003-04; and there is a reason why the Celtics can be surer of their future now than they were before giving away their youngsters.

By trading away their future, the Celtics not only established themselves as a contender now, but they also put themselves in a better position to win for years to come. With Garnett, Pierce, and Allen on the same team for years to come, barring injuries or trades, this team has the ability to beat anybody in the league at any given time — something that the Celtics haven’t been able to say for years.

The only way things can turn sour again in Beantown is if Danny Ainge magically morphs back into, well, Danny Ainge and messes things up again. For now, however, Celtic fans should be ecstatic about the possibilities surrounding this team and their future.

—–Originally Published at—–


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