This was supposed to be a much different column. 

It was supposed to be about the treasure chest of picks gathered by Danny Ainge. How, when he finally unlatched his riches, the Celtics GM would catapult Boston back into contention over the course of a few weeks during the summer.

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Now that Ainge is bringing his pirate ship of lost souls to port (read: Gerald Wallace), I’m no longer sure that’s a guarantee.

Let’s back up. In 2007, Ainge famously traded for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. That move gave Boston their first championship since 1986 and allowed Celtics fans to mistakenly wax poetic about how their team was built and not bought. James Posey was important. Flo Rida topped the charts. Anything was possiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiible. 

Meanwhile, we conveniently forgot about how that championship was delivered to Boston.

In 2006-07, Allen’s Sonics and Garnett’s Timberwolves combined for a total of 61 wins … five fewer than the Celtics had the following season. Restless and ready to win, Ainge scooped up two superstars from terrible teams for young players and picks. The pieces fit.

Boston has had no problem adding assets. Ainge has nine first-round picks in varying kinds of restriction from 2015 to 2018, a third of which are from Billy King and the Brooklyn Nets alone. He’s got loads of cap space, as just eight players are owed guaranteed money in 2015-16.

No, the issue is who will be available if Ainge wants to rebuild his team the way he did before. Just look around the NBA today: How many great players do you see on terrible teams in 2015?

Squads like Utah, Minnesota, Philadelphia and Orlando have already emptied their rosters of any valuable veterans as part of the rebuilding process. The players left with any use are all developing youngsters and recent top draft picks.

Ainge’s sights are therefore narrowed and more complicated. There are no Ray Allens or Kevin Garnetts to be had. The biggest star on an awful team in 2015 is Carmelo Anthony.

Sure, there are others — Roy Hibbert has reportedly been on the block for some time, Rudy Gay seems attainable and virtually every wing player on the Nuggets is for sale.

But do you really want to swap multiple firsts for Hibbert or Gay if you’re Boston?

There are also future free agents to consider. DeAndre Jordan, Marc Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, Zach Randolph and Omer Asik are all unrestricted come summertime. Thaddeus Young and Goran Dragic could forego their player options. Guys are out there.

Peering down into the murky NBA trade waters, it’s not as though there aren’t pieces to be had from teams for the right price. But the right pieces for the right price are going to be more difficult to obtain than they were in 2007.

Let’s just play around for a moment and say Anthony became the target for Boston. Ainge could package Wallace’s mummified headband in bubble wrap along with some cash. Would Melo go back to the 4, where he’s been most efficient, after losing all that weight last summer? Would he waive his no-trade clause and leave the rebuilding Knicks for another team with no other pieces in place yet?

And, should a recently-injured Anthony, who turns 31 in May, be the player Ainge was saving up all those first-rounders for all this time? 

Ainge could try to snag a good player off a playoff team the way the Rockets did in 2012 with James Harden. That would require the Celtics to find a trade partner who believes they can draft well enough to replace value in an effort to smooth out a salary crunch.

Golden State could end up there with Draymond Green. Dragic could put Phoenix in a pinch. It’s not out of the question.

But in any scenario Ainge would need to find at least two mega

stars, via trade or the open market. If you’re one of those free agents already on a playoff team — Gasol, Jordan, Green, Aldridge or Randolph — how many of them believe they would be better served by leaving their current situation for the unknown in Boston? 

I could be barking entirely up the wrong tree here. Maybe Ainge is insane and trying to wait it out one more year to lure Kevin Durant. Maybe he knows a guy who can discretely kidnap Ernie Grunfeld at a Fourth of July party.

Or — gasp — maybe Ainge plans to actually use some of his picks for a top-rated college player. A novel idea, to be sure.

Remember, this is a league where Chris Paul can be traded to Los Angeles twice in four days to two different teams; where Dikembe Mutumbo can be traded for Nazr Mohammed; and where billionaires write public breakup letters in Comic Sans.

When it comes to trades and rebuilds in the NBA, strange things are usually afoot.

Ainge knows that all too well. He’s the cat who drafted Tony Allen, Delonte West, Al Jefferson, Gerald Green and Rajon Rondo in his first few years while simultaneously trading away Antoine Walker ... only to trade back for him 16 months later.

There's a perfect mix out there of available stars and top rookies that Ainge will try to balance. We've been sold this idea of the quick rebuild for so long, of GMs stockpiling picks for future trades. Would it be so crazy to think Boston could rebuild from the ground up? This time, could the Celtics actually be built and not bought? 

A star like Anthony, a free agent monster like Gasol and a top rookie -- plus the existing young talent already on the Celtics roster -- would be enough to pull Boston from the briny depths. In fact, many would likely prefer for Ainge's next effort to be better built for the future. The last time around each of his Big 3 were 30 or older.

In any case, Ainge is trying to navigate the bright stars of the teams above him. For the Celtics faithful, let’s hope he finds his way. Let's hope that the Celtics don't wind up scraping barnacles off the bottom of the boat after missing out on a big free agent or failing to convince a team that can’t come to terms with their star on a sign-and-trade. 

Things are different now than they were in 2007. Tougher. The luxury and repeater tax have made the cap more dangerous. Dynasties aren't guaranteed. But in some ways, things remain the same, especially when it comes to the Celtics and their upcoming decisions — they've got picks and they want stars.

At the end of the day, anything is still possible.