WALTHAM Rajon Rondo remembers all too well what life was like before the Big Three came together in Boston prior to the the 2007-2008 season.
"It was ugly around here when there wasn't a Big Three," Rondo said. "We lost 18 straight that year. It was a tough year, but we had a great turnaround once the Big Three came together."
While it's no secret that their time together is running out, it may be over sooner than expected after Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, made headlines Thursday when he told the Boston Globe that he would be open to trading any of the Big Three.
Celtics head coach Doc Rivers carefully responded to the comments, trying not to add any fuel to the fire.
"Danny, I don't think meant in any way that he was trying to trade anybody," Rivers said. "I would say it's a very strong possibility that we're going to get this together, and there's an even stronger possibility that every guy will be here."
While Ainge didn't say he plans to blow up the Big Three of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, he is open to the idea for several reasons.
For starters, they're underachieving. There is no way anyone could have anticipated that the C's would be 5-8 after 13 games.
That core group isn't getting any younger, and their trade value continues to drop with time.
Ainge doesn't want to make the same mistake Celtics great Red Auerbach did in the 1980s when he held on to his core group for too long despite having offers for younger, up-and-coming talent.
Auerbach had offers to move both Larry Bird and Kevin Mchale, but elected not to do so.
Those decisions, coupled with a series of missteps afterward, resulted in the C's struggling to remain competitive in the post-Bird era.
"If I were presented with those kinds of deals for our aging veterans, it's a done deal, to continue the success," Ainge told the Globe.
It was clear just the idea of not having the Big Three around, bothered Rondo.
But if there's one thing he has learned in the past year or so, it's that teammates -- regardless of how long they've been around -- can be traded away at a moment's notice.
"It's a business," Rondo said. "I was heavy in trade talks this summer. I guess it's their turn; it still could be me. You never know. It's part of the business."