How you choose to do that will determine if you think the Boston Celtics are tanking. They certainly are rebuilding after they shipped out Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn for a package of three first round picks, the talented young MarShon Brooks, and the anchor contracts of Kris Humphries (one year, $12 million) and Gerald Wallace (three years, $30 million).
But don’t use the “T” word around Ainge.
Which brings us back to how you choose to define tanking.
The Boston Celtics are not going to throw games next year in the sense they are not going to tell the players on the floor not to try hard, they are not going to ask them to lose intentionally. That is one literal definition of tanking and the Celtics are not going to do that. No team is.
But that’s not how most fans will define tanking. A lot of us would define tanking as putting together and playing a roster that you know will not win a lot of games in order to gain a better lottery position.
That’s where the Celtics seem to be headed and what they should be doing. Which means trading Rajon Rondo, too. Be bad, don’t be the 10 seed. Stockpile picks, clear cap space to chase future free agents and generally tearing it all down to completely rebuild (or retool or whatever word you choose).
You can define it by whatever word you wish, it’s what the Celtics should do.