They were the essentials to finally having his Celtics thinking in terms of a title.
The missing pieces were the small parts that can make such a big difference.
They, as it turned out, were what the Celtics already had in place:
Point guard Rajon Rondo.
And center Kendrick Perkins.
No, Danny Ainge did not draft either as championship components.
Perkins had been on the roster since being selected No. 27 in 2003 by the Grizzlies and then dealt on draft night to the Celtics.
Rondo had been on the roster for a single, mostly unspectacular, season after being selected No. 21 in 2006 by the Suns and then being dealt on draft night to the Celtics.
But when the Celtics made their turn with their unexpected 2007 offseason moves for Garnett and Allen, two-fifths of a well-balanced starting lineup, beyond Pierce, already was in place, a ready-made supporting cast, if you will.
Today, those complements continue to be complimented, Perkins for his stay-the-heck-out-of-the-way grit and Rondo for the youthful vigor that has him on the cusp of an All-Star berth.
That's why, when you look toward all those teams seeking to reload in 2010 free agency — when LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant and Amare Stoudemire could be among the prizes — those teams would be wise to give some advance thought to first setting the table, as Boston did, with Perkins and Rondo.
Take the Knicks, for example, and their lust for James and Bosh. Who exactly would be there to round out anything close to a successful starting five?
Re-signing David Lee would likely eat up too much cap space. Al Harrington will have moved on to free agency. Same for Chris Duhon.
And for all the potential you may want to assign to Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari, neither is a Perkins, let alone a Rondo.
One of the things that goes without saying for Ainge is his passion for the draft and passion for draft night.
While he probably did not go into that 2006 draft with an eye toward his 2007 offseason riches, he nonetheless picked Phoenix clean for Rondo by having enough cap space available to also take on the contract of Brian Grant.
Charles Krupa / AP
Kendrick Perkins has given the Celtics a strong, gritty inside presence.
With Perkins, three years earlier, the only cost was the draft rights to Troy Bell and Dahntay Jones (albeit with the kicker of also having to take on Marcus Banks).
The lesson from the Celtics is that if you're going to have three max contracts, you had better have the cheap labor already in place. Rondo is earning $1.3 million this season; Perkins is taking home $4.6 million. Each made less during last season's title run.
Rondo has one more season on his contract and then he'll cash in. The beauty is that also is when Allen's contract expires.
By then, it well could be a case of role reversal when it comes to All-Star status. Rondo has been that good this season.
For starters, going into this week, the Celtics were 12-0 when Rondo scored in double figures. Not when he scores 20. Not when he scores 15. But merely when he does enough to keep defenses honest against the three who matter most.
Yes, the triple-double against the Pacers was impressive, when he had 16 points, 17 assists and 13 rebounds. But there are others to take care of such matters on most nights.
The Pacers defeated the Heat 97-93 in Game 2 to even the series at 1-1, which now shifts to Indiana.
PBT: Pacers coach Frank Vogel said that the Heat have a more effective plan of attack against Roy Hibbert than the Knicks.
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Video: NBA from NBC Sports
DPS: Is it really all about the rings?
DPS: Dan Patrick talks about Phil Jackson's comments about starting a team with Bill Russell now because of his championships and brings up the great question of, if it's all about championships, how come we don't talk about guys like Sam Jones, Frank Ramsey or John Havlicek who all have multiple rings?
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