While acknowledging a rebuilding process looms -- and it might have contributed to coach Doc Rivers roaming west and signing on as the next head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers -- Ainge said he wasn’t sure if this summer would usher in a full-blown roster overhaul for Boston.
“I’m anxious to go through the [rebuilding] process,” Ainge admitted. “We don’t know when that’s going to happen, if that’s going to happen this summer or if that’s going to happen next summer. We’ve been ready, we’ve been gearing up for that possibility.
After allowing Rivers out of the final three years of his contract to pursue the Clippers coaching vacancy, the assumption has been that Boston might be as tempted as ever to turn over its roster. It’s likely that decision ultimately hinges on what the Celtics can fetch for their aging stars this summer.
“I love Paul and KG and we haven’t made that decision yet,” Ainge said when asked if he wanted to bring both players back. “KG’s under contract, and Paul we have an option on in five days from now, and those are very big decisions for us. But those decisions, I’m not certain about either one of those.”
Initial trade discussions with the Clippers included a potential secondary swap that would have sent Garnett to Los Angeles in exchange for DeAndre Jordan. The league shot the idea down, noting its connection to Rivers’ hiring in L.A. made it look as if the teams were circumventing the collective bargaining agreement, which states that no trade can be contingent upon another exchange between teams.
Sources confirmed to ESPN that the league has told the teams that they cannot make any subsequent trades until after the 2013-14 season because of the Rivers’ deal, essentially squashing any chance Garnett ends up in L.A. (at least not without being waived).
The Celtics would have to find another destination for the 37-year-old Garnett, who also owns a no-trade clause.
Boston is on the hook for only $5 million next season if Pierce is waived before June 30. But sources indicated the team is willing to stomach the entire $15.3 million due in the final year of his deal while exploring trade options with the goal of acquiring a first-round pick. Those sources also noted that the Cavaliers and Bucks were among the interested suitors for Pierce, but the Celtics were willing to work with their captain to get him to a contender if they did part ways.
Ainge noted the futures of Pierce and Garnett are not tied to each other, nor the departure of Rivers.
“From my perspective, none of the decisions have anything to do with the other,” Ainge said.