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BOSTON (CBS) – With point guard Rajon Rondo done for the season with a torn ACL, the Boston Celtics are now in a tough situation.
They were a sub-500 team with Rondo, and now find themselves without their star playmaker. Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Monday, and though the Celtics might look to make a trade, he said any move would be tough to pull off.
“I think a major trade is going to be difficult,” said Mannix. “Number one, the most appealing guy is Jared Sullinger – and the Celtics aren’t trading him. The way he’s playing this year and the fact he makes a small salary makes it unlikely he’ll be in any deal, unless that deal brought back a significant player in return; an in-their-prime type of super star that you can accompany Sullinger with a Paul Pierce.”
While Mannix doesn’t see Garnett going anywhere, Pierce would be the top candidate to get dealt if the Celtics can put something together.
“I think the most appealing, or most likely guy to move if you make a big move is Pierce. He’s still an elite scorer in this league and there are teams out there that can use a small forward that can do the things Pierce can still do,” said Mannix. “Just as important, that contract next year is non-guaranteed; if you can pay $5 million to make Pierce go away, that would give some team seeking tax relief or cap flexibility. I can see something like that happening.”
“Any major deal that would shake up the Celtics would exclusively involve Paul Pierce.”
With both players on the wrong side of 30 and plenty of wear and tear from their long NBA careers, could Pierce and/or Garnett simply retire at the end of this season?
Mannix doesn’t think so.
“Money talks, and these guys have a lot of money coming to them over the next couple years,” said Mannix. “I’ve always felt that KG is on a series of one-year deals, but what is he going to do after basketball? He’s going to play until the wheels fall off, and that $11-$12 million coming to him next year is more than enough incentive to come back – regardless of the situation.
“I think we’ll see (Garnett and Pierce) on the Celtics roster, or otherwise, next year.”