Green Is New Color Of Mourning: Big 3 Era Is Dead, Even If It Isn’t

Boston Celtics Big Three
Boston Celtics Big Three
May 3 2013 Boston MA USA Boston Celtics forwardcenter Kevin Garnett 5 hangs his head during the fourth quarter in game six of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the New York Knicks at TD Garden The New York Knicks won 88 80 Greg M Cooper USA TODAY Sports

Eight muscle-toned NBA bodies and two draft pick rights stood between an NBA wasteland and the oasis of a championship-marked beginning. With Paul Pierce’s franchise talent wasting away, Danny Ainge was pressed to strike gold. He did one better: he struck stars.

After shipping Wally Szczerbiak, longtime Celtics Plan B Delonte West, and now Boston forward Jeff Green to the defunct SuperSonics club, Ainge secured the rights to Ray Allen (and Glen Davis). Kevin Garnett came at a stepper price; the 2004 MVP became a Celtic after Boston gave away the likes of Ryan Gomes, Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff, Sebastian Telfair, Gerald Green, a 2009 first round draft pick, and a regifted conditional first round pick, to the Timberwolves.

The move was as favorable on the hardwood as it was on the clipboard. That was no more apparent than in the Herculean trashing handed out to the Lakers in Game 6 of the 2008 Finals. That night of broken records and rivals would be the climax to a banner year that saw Pierce, Allen, Garnett, Rivers―and, yes, Rondo―secure the 17th championship for an organization that made winning them into a celebrated pilgrimage.

Though the Boston Three Party would find themselves in the NBA Finals one more time, that first year would be the highest peak they reached. Perhaps more was expected from the alignment of stars Ainge was able to conjure but Pau Gasol, Kendrick Perkins’ ACL, LeBron, and KG’s failing body had other plans.

The Big Three era officially ended last summer when Allen decided to take his HOF talents to South Beach, but its death has been no more vivid than in recent days.

Doc Rivers wants out. Garnett won’t suit up sans him. Pierce might be a better trade piece than team captain. Rondo is in recovery. And the Clippers want to pick up the falling pieces.

Though the mega trade has stalled, talks of sending KG and Doc (along with a Jason Terry or Courtney Lee contract) to the Clippers for LeBron mini-me Eric Bledsoe, DeAndre Jordan and draft picks is the ultimate nail on the coffin.

There’s word that a deal can still happen―Bill Simmons has lit a fire under a DeAndre Jordan, Caron Butler, Willie Green, and 1st round picks for KG, Rivers, and the Terry/Lee contracts trade, which would bypass the Clippers’ unwillingness to part with Bledsoe, and thus, keep the wheels turning. But even if they don’t―if Rivers, Garnett, and Pierce stay in Beantown―the funeral procession for a dying era is in full swing.

But all good things must come to an end, especially in an industry where health is the ultimate currency. Even to those that say The Big Three era in Boston didn’t quite reach the heights expected of it, it should still be looked back upon with fondness. A funeral procession might not have the gaudy hardware, champagne bubbly, and stadium-wide smiles of a championship parade but it does mark the start of a new era.

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Bogar Alonso
Bogar Alonso is a dedicated student of the hardwood, soccer pitch, boxing ring, and tennis court. He is a regular NBA contributor to XN Sports. His work, involving more than just sports, has appeared on The Creators Project, A&E Networks, XXL Magazine, and others. Follow Bogar on Twitter @blacktiles