Celtics executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge took the first step toward rebuilding a reserve corps left decimated in the five-for-one (plus two draft choices) trade for Kevin Garnett with the signing of sharp-shooting veteran guard Eddie House and D-League forward Jackie Manuel Wednesday.

The apparent instant bond formed between the newly minted Celtics power trio of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen during Tuesday night's celebratory press conference at the TD Banknorth Garden went a long way toward alleviating concerns about whether the three superstars will be able to coexist.


If it were a game of three-on-three, you might be able to start stitching banner No. 17 right now.


But in order to build a championship contender, you need two more starters and some semblance of a bench. Celtics executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge took the first step toward rebuilding a reserve corps left decimated in the five-for-one (plus two draft choices) trade Wednesday with the signing of sharp-shooting veteran guard Eddie House and D-League forward Jackie Manuel.


Meanwhile, the holdovers from last year's team were able to start digesting the dramatic overhaul.


"I thought it was a good trade," said second-year power forward Leon Powe, who is helping out with Golden State center Adonal Foyle's basketball camp in the East Caribbean this week. "Some of my friends left because of it, so it was tough learning that. But it's a business and you have to realize that. I understand that and I think they understand that, too."


With Al Jefferson and Ryan Gomes both gone to Minnesota, Powe goes from looking to work into a mix of very young frontcourt players to being the primary backup for perhaps the most talented power forward of a generation in Garnett.


"He's a great player," Powe said. "You don't get too much better than that. He brings a lot of energy to the game and you can feed off that energy just like you can feed off Paul's energy when he is out there."


Depending on what other players Ainge brings in - which will still likely include a veteran big man and another point guard - the other remaining players could see their roles altered.


Fifth-year center Kendrick Perkins - the only true center currently on the roster - will be asked to combine with Garnett for what could be a formidable defensive frontcourt, while second-year point guard Rajon Rondo will be charged with setting the table for three dominant personalities.


"My biggest concern for Rajon is just playing a role that isn't overwhelmed by three stars," Ainge said. "We need Rajon to play like Rajon. We know he will defensively. Offensively, we think he is making strides - he made strides last year - but we need him to keep being aggressive and to be an attacker.


"At the same time," he continued, "he's young and you have to expect and anticipate a little bit of that. In time, he is going to feel more and more comfortable, and belong more and more on the court, on the offensive end. That's when we will become really good."


Fourth-year swingman Tony Allen, coming off anterior cruciate ligament surgery this winter, could be the team's sixth man, while often-ridiculed and sometimes-forgotten veteran Brian Scalabrine may re-emerge as a key bench presence now that he is back on a veteran team.


"He has struggled at times because we've needed him to be more than he is capable of being," Ainge said of Scalabrine. "He's tried to do too much. Last year, he did a much better job at that.


"He is a much better player playing with better players than he is with guys who are trying to create their own offense doing their own things outside of the scheme," he added.


Though the trade - coming almost exactly a month after Delonte West was shipped to Seattle in the package for Ray Allen - likely shocked a tight-knit group that grew up together out of college and high school, the transformation from a lottery team to a potential title contender should quickly alleviate any disappointment.


"That's a great thing," Powe said. "I was tired of hearing people talking about us losing every game. They know this team is going to be competitive now. Everyone wants to win, so it's great for the city."