EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

June 11, 2012

One more time!

At a certain point, the Celtics will have to rebuild. This just isn't that time.

While the New Big 3 is ancient, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen can still be the core of a formidable club.

The proof is in the pudding. Ask the Heat if they can still play.

It may not be ideal to rely on a 37-year-old Allen, a 36-year-old Garnett and a 35-year-old Pierce — those will be their ages to begin next season — but Kentucky's 19-year-old All-American Anthony Davis isn't walking through those doors.

If they can stay healthy — always a major if with old guys, as we saw this season — that should still be a threesome to reckon with.

Pierce (knee) wasn't himself in the playoffs and Allen (bone spurs in his right ankle) definitely will go under the knife. But even with them being sub-par, they pushed the Miami Heat to the brink in the Eastern Conference finals.

Assuming second-year surprise Avery Bradley returns 100 percent after major shoulder surgery, he, the Big 3 and indispensable point guard Rajon Rondo would keep the Celtics among the Eastern Conference elite.

Miami and Chicago, assuming Derrick Rose makes a complete recovery from major knee surgery, certainly would be better than Boston. And perhaps scrappy Indiana and perennially underachieving Atlanta, too.

But the C's still could be in the mix. If they blow it up, there are no guarantees they'll be able to execute a quick turnaround. So why rush to possible mediocrity?

The right trade or free agent signing can bring in some scoring/youth. Couple that with some good fortune and good health and who knows what could happen next year?

The two questions are:

1. Who wants to come back? and 2. What will it take to bring them back?

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