Celtics don't need to blow it up. Not yet.
Call it optimism, call it desperateness, call it the first stage of grief. I don't think the Celtics will trade for pennies on the dollar. I just don't think it should be done.
First of all, the Celtics have won without Rondo in the past. The bulk of that success was on Paul Pierce, and we know he's been struggling this year. But we should give it time and find out if that point-forward role will suit him better. The first test against the Heat was a success with a triple-double.
Secondly, as Eric have mentioned in his post, the other GMs know that Ainge will be in a very bad position. If you don't get a great offer, there's no need to just do a trade for the sake of it.
With the revamped Red Sox and the young Bruins and a strong Patriots team in the picture, the Celtics management know that they have to stay relevant to make money. This team is one of the most valuable in the NBA right now, and blowing it up would cause the team to stay mediocre for an extended period of time. What is a better path to take is to fight it out even if you don't win.
If Garnett and Pierce decide it's time to call it quits by the end of this season, we get the cap space anyways. If they don't, Rondo comes back midseason next year, and the Celtics still have a chance to compete with a still mediocre Eastern Conference. The Bulls have survived, there's no reason we won't.
What's more, we have plenty of combo guards. Lee, Terry, Bradley and Barbosa will know that it's time to shine. They'll get the minutes they want. Even without Bradley, a Rondo-less Celtics team was able to compete with strong teams. Why shouldn't it happen now?
Yes, I know the slim chance of us getting Banner 18 have gotten slimmer if not nonexistent. Yes, this is a huge blow. Yet, the Celtics have tried "blowing it up" in the past, and it hasn't worked for us. The Celtics were a terrible team for many years. Now that we're back, let's keep on fighting, and honor Pierce and Garnett's last seasons the way they've deserved it.
Never underestimate the Celtics defense and their will to fight. We've had a fun ride in 2008-09 without Garnett, that season was much better than the 2010-11 one. I'd rather see us lose in Conference finals 5 seasons in a row than become the Hawks or the Bucks of Eastern Conference.
Don't forget: We beat the Heat today to end a 6-game losing streak. Anything is possible.