The Boston Celtics are about to make a bad situation worse, I fear. They are about to trade their future, uncertain as it might be, for a two- or three-year window of respectability.

You’ve probably heard the rumor by now. The Celtics are supposedly in talks with the Minnesota Timberwolves and working on a deal that would send Kevin Garnett to Boston in exchange for Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, the No. 5 pick in the draft, and, in some reports, Sebastian Telfair and/or Theo Ratliff’s expiring contracts.

Garnett just turned 31 last month. He is three years removed from his MVP season. All of his stats are down slightly from that year, but one could argue that he’s had to rely on Ricky Davis and Mark Blount since then, so a drop-off is to be expected.

Okay, let’s say that Garnett is still at his MVP level. He’ll give the Celtics a post presence at both ends of the floor. He and Pierce would be up there among the top one-two combinations in the Eastern Conference, if not the league. Those who are in favor of the deal claim that it instantly makes the Celtics contenders in their weak conference.

That is not a given. The Bulls, Cavaliers and Raptors are all teams on the rise. The Heat still have Shaquille O’Neal and Dwyane Wade. What happens if someone in the conference picks up Kobe Bryant? And do what if Pierce and Garnett and a bunch of scrubs are enough to win the East, are they really going to be good enough to beat San Antonio, Phoenix, Dallas or Portland? Isn’t that supposed to be what the Celtics are all about, winning, and not just competing?

And even with Garnett, this team still has serious holes. Who is the point guard? Who is the No. 3 option? Wally Szczerbiak, who injures his knee anytime he steps off a curb? Garnett’s presence in the paint improves their defense a little, but if you watched them try to play defense, you know there is a lot more wrong with the defense than the lack of shot-blocker? And is Doc Rivers really taking this team anywhere as its coach?

Okay, so you luck into a solid No. 3 scorer through the draft or free agency, Rajon Rondo develops into a serviceable point guard, and Danny Ainge smartens up and fires Doc Rivers and hires Rick Carlisle. Then what do you have? Two, maybe three years with Garnett and Pierce at All-Star level (assuming Garnett doesn’t decide to exercise an opt out in his contract). What are the odds you win a championship? Sure, there are no guarantees with Jefferson, Green and the No. 5 pick in green-and-white, either, but are their chances with Garnett good enough to accept the long-term implications if you don’t? We all know what happened to the Celtics the last time they held on to their fading superstars for too long.

Support for this deal is gaining steam because Celtic fans are frustrated. It’s been 21 years since we hung the last banner and we’re tired of waiting for the next one. But making this deal is only going to prolong the wait. Yeah, there will be a lot of buzz around the Celtics for a year or two. Tickets will be a hot commodity, they’ll be talking about the Celts on TNT and PTI and the Garden will be the place to be seen again. So what?

At least that’s what I hope the Celtics owners will say if Ainge comes to them with this deal. But I fear they can’t see past the short-term financial/marketing gain of this move and I’m worried a lot of desperate Celtic fans are going to let them get away with it.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.