Post-game Reactions

One of the side effects of Boston’s 4-8 record is increased speculation about whether Danny Ainge is ready to pull the pin on his core and kick off the rebuilding process in-season. There have been trade talks the last couple of years when the Celtics were underperforming, mainly surrounding Ray Allen. This season, with the Celtics no longer a title contender, they seem likely to intensify. Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski has an early dispatch on that front, and it involves Paul Pierce:

As Kevin Garnett and Allen become free agents this summer, money will peel away from the salary cap. Between then and now, the bigger question promises to be: Does ownership and general manager Danny Ainge go for the complete rebuild and trade Pierce before the March 15 deadline? Several contending teams have inquired about Pierce’s availability. As one Eastern Conference official said, there are “lots of calls asking if [Boston] will blow it up.”

For Celtics ownership and Ainge, this moment of truth could be coming sooner than later. The Celtics have lost five straight games, dropping to 4-8. They’re still trying to see how much blame for this sluggish start belongs to the lockout, the schedule or advancing age. Ainge has always insisted he’ll never make the mistake with his Big Three that Red Auerbach made with his own in the late 1980s by staying too long with them.

Garnett and Allen come off the Celtics’ cap this summer, but Pierce is the most perplexing member of the Big Three. He has two years and $32 million left on his contract through the 2013-14 season, and moving him for a shorter deal could make the Celtics a huge player in free agency the next two years. As Boston officials contend, this is the reason they didn’t re-sign Perkins and Tony Allen to long-term contracts. They’ve been preparing for the time their core became too old, for the team’s need to start over.


CelticsHub: Ainge has maintained the offers he’s received for his core guys the last few years haven’t been enticing enough for him to make a move. He has suggested that in the modern NBA, you simply can’t get quality youth and picks for aging veterans and he’s probably right: there’s more of a premium than ever placed on production from players on rookie-scale contracts. That’s likely why the team didn’t undergo a major revision at the 2010 trade deadline, when Allen and Kevin Garnett’s names leaked out in trade rumors (KG, after the fact).

Of course, the Celtics were on expensive long term contracts back then, and now with Garnett and Allen expiring, there may be more of a market, particularly for Allen (it’s nearly impossible to find a match for Garnett given his salary — $21.2M).

Pierce is another story entirely.

As we saw the last two nights, his slow start is likely just a function of circumstance. His game, based not on speed or explosive athleticism, is likely to age well and his contract isn’t egregious, particularly for a team with title aspirations the next few years. He can still make a major difference in the playoffs on both sides of the ball and his overall reputation has been on a major upswing league-wide the last few years.

Given that Ainge has fielded multiple calls on Pierce, it’s possible there may come a time when an offer for him makes sense for the future of the Celtics. That could happen this season or next, but Pierce will become more of a supporting player over the next few years and therefore more expendable.

Ugh. I know how that reads. We just went through this emotional turmoil with Perk’s return and now we’re contemplating the prospect of Pierce moving on. Can you imagine what his return to the Garden would be like?

The x-factor here might be Wyc Grousbeck, who has always seemed like he’s the world’s biggest Paul Pierce fan.

How much does Grousbeck value seeing Pierce go start-to-finish wearing only Celtic green? Would he block a deal for Pierce if Ainge procured one?

We might find out before the trade deadline.

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Ryan DeGama

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  • Batman

    If they trade Pierce, the backlash would be ridiculous
    It would be like Miami trading Wade
    L.A trading Kobe
    Dallas trading Dirk


    • mike

      I absolutely agree. The backlash would be tremendous. Perkins times 100. My biggest fear is that, Danny Ainge having already showed his lack of player loyalty, trading Pierce or any other member of the Big Three is a legitimate possibility. I don't see it being a pretty trade either.

  • cos

    The organization has rebuilt its reputation as a class organization. how would trading pierce affect that impression. I can't see it happening, and not cause of that reason alone. but that does add to the likelihood it never happens.

    One way or another, Paul Pierce retires as a Celtic and his number is raised to the rafters. I'd much rather that happen without him ever leaving. wire to wire then to the rafters.

  • Ray

    Ray Allen will probably get the most doable offers. Low usage as a needed position. Maybe get a pick from the Bulls for a rental.

  • CG12

    Don't see it happening, during this season or ever. I understand why teams are calling, but the Cs have no real reason to shop Pierce. Garnett and Allen expire at the end of this year. The Cs then have basically Rondo, Pierce, and a ton of flexibility. To me, that is really good planning for the end of the New Big 3 era. They can try to re-sign KG or Ray, but don't need to feel pressure to do so. They can go out and get a major free agent. I like many of our bench guys, so hopefully some of them will stick around after this year.

    • big"D"

      I think the Perk trade is still reverberating though out the team. Danny shot from the hip when Perk wouldn't resign, thought he had his bases covered with the O'neals, and traded Perk. That trade was treasonous in the eyes of the other 4 starters. The effects on Rondo showed publicly in the months following. The effects of that trade are showing up in KG now. I don't think he has enough fire in his belly and is rather detached. Maybe I'm wrong. It would be nice for the Celts to resign KG and Ray for a bargain price. Ray loves playing in Boston as he is from the northeast. KG on the other hand, has a beach on the west coast that has inspired him since his beginning. If KG goes, Ray goes too… If Danny trades Pierce, Danny's credibility is lynched by fans and critics and will never recover… Perk would have eventually signed and we would be looking at Celtics dominating and possibly even doing so as defending champions…

  • Pauper

    There's no reason to trade Pierce. You're not going to get a top 3 pick and he should be productive through the end of his contract so what are you really getting for him? If you get a top 3 or even top 5, it might make sense if you can get a player to help the next 5 to 7 years.

  • James Patrick

    I'd rather lose with Piece than trade him. He's the face of our franchise. He's stuck with this team through some horrible seasons. And this is how you reward him? Pierce should retire a Celtic. Stay classy Boston. Show some loyalty because sometimes loyalty is more important than victories in the win column.

    • Sophomore

      Are you sure that's what Pierce wants? Suppose he had a chance to go to a team that needed one more piece, and the trade would give him a chance to play for the title again. How would it be loyal to Pierce to make him end his career on another rebuilding project?

      As I remember it, Boston fans were happy for Ray Bourque when the Bs traded him to a contender.

  • Brian

    Don't see the point of trading Pierce. You'll have him, Rondo and Bass along with shedding KG, Ray and JO's 35M+ in contracts.

    • Brian

      I meant to add this is what they'll look like next season and you can put together another contender around those pieces with the amount of cap space they'll have.

  • phreesh

    It's too late to get value at this point. You get two quarters for a buck on any Pierce trade.

  • CelticsBIG3

    the saddest thing about all of this is that regardless what we do, the NBAs upper class is constituted of assholes who will never sign in Boston because we don't have palm trees, warm weather, and supposedly Boston isn't a major city anymore.

  • Pierce has a no-trade clause in his contract…

  • hallik

    It's time boys….time to blow it up.
    KG looks like my grandpa trying play ball!
    I hate to say it but we wont win 30 this year. Its done.

  • Devonte

    Ainge need to make 2 big trades. Trade E.Moore,M.Daniels,& J.Johnson to Minnesota for A.Randolph. Trade Stiemsma,Wilcox,Dooling,Bradley,Pavlovic, & 1st round pick to Houston for H.Thabeet,T.Williams. & J.Flynn. Next month after the trade deadline Ainge should sign R.Wallace & E.House. With this new bench we will return to the NBA Finals.

    • demetricw

      Horrible trades dude

    • CelticsBIG3

      What the hell would you want Thabeet for?

    • Ray Ray for 3

      Ridiculous…….again………for the 55th time you have posted this………under another name.

  • skeeds

    Trading the best shooter in history who could easily be your 6th man of the year next season, OR your franchise player, your captain, for "good pieces" is just a stupid move. As for KG, thank god his contract is a behemoth, or else Ainge would've traded him 2 years ago. I'd rather watch those dinosaurs limp up and down the court till they decide to quit, than see them in another jersey.

    There's only one kind of trade that is barely worth trading anyone of them. And that is a trade bringing Dwight Howard to Boston with a full contract extension, without moving Rondo.
    That's it. That's the gamechanger there, no other move makes us an instant contender. Every other trade isn't worth it, and even this one I'll have a hard time digesting if it means shipping Ray and PP to Orlando.

  • ripsonics

    the only thing that stands out to me is its Danny Ainge ladies and gentleman. Never say never with him… If he gets the right deal, he'll ship anyone and everyone, especially because he said he wouldn't do what Red did back in the day with his big three.

    Live KG says, "Anything is possible"

    • CelticsBIG3

      He's already done what Red did with his big three

  • I_Love_Green

    This is something you just don't do. I don't care about who you get, if I'm Danny Ainge, I let everyone know that Pierce is retiring a Celtic. You can't trade someone like Pierce, who for so long has meant so much to this team and this city, and expect everything to be alright after it.

    If you thought the Perk backlash was bad, imagine if he traded Pierce…

    • Sophomore

      Paul Pierce has a no-trade clause. The only way Danny could trade him would be if Pierce *wants* to be traded. So that wouldn't reflect on Danny – or at least, it wouldn't only reflect on Danny. Most likely, Pierce would agree to go only if the trade was to a team whose window was still open, to have another shot at a title instead of starting another rebuilding project. And I just couldn't fault Pierce for wanting that shot, if it was available to him.

  • demetricw

    I never thought i'd see the day… this is a big deal. If Ainge gets great value he'd better jump on it. I miss the old Ainge, the losing Ainge, the Ainge that traded Antoine Walker and could draft in the 20's. If he trades Pierce he's back!!!

  • ElRoz

    The 1990-1991 Celtics eon 56 games in spite of Bird's injuries and missed time…1991-1992 Celtics' won 51 games in spite of the same issue of Bird's injuries and missed time…this team right now is NOT playing as well as those early 1990s teams, Bird's last two years.
    However, I simply HAVE to give some of this to the "short" preseason and "training camp"…I juts don't think the drop off is actually this steep for this team. They will get better ..and the bench should get better as well . By the way: why does Doc not give Steamer a 8-10 min action each game?

  • ElRoz

    Well….if the team trades now it would need to trade more than Pierce – maybe Ray as well…I HATE TO SAY IT…but the reason I do is that instead of having a lot of money to spend next year…the team could have that PLUS a bad record and a god draft pick to boot…why not have both? A chance at the top 5-7 draft pick + money to spend:?

    • CelticsBIG3

      We're gonna have over 30 million to spend without trading pierce this season when Ray and KG come off the books

  • steveb

    Big question remains, even with cap space can we attract free agents? Boston is seldom mentioned as a dream destination. I still can’t believe Dwight Howard wants to play for the Nets. Just shows how todays players think.
    On another topic. Does anyone else question the Celtics development of young talent lately? Even the successful draft picks seem to have issues. Watching other teams have late draft picks make a difference off the bench makes me wonder. Watching the Spurs right now and Danny Green pouring in 3’s. Danny who? I’d love to see Moore or Johnson making some contributions before the end of the season. Either the team isn’t drafting well lately or mishandle young players.

    • CelticsBIG3

      Doesn't help that Doc doesn't give any of the youngsters any playing time. Only guys we really developed were Perk and Big Al Jefferson both of which are gone.

  • MikeD

    I can honestly say I would rather the Celtics be terrible for the next decade than for them to trade Paul Pierce. As many of us have, I've watched his entire career. It would mean so much to Pierce, and to his fans, for him to finish his career here. If Danny were to trade him, all jokes aside, I would no longer consider myself a fan of the Boston Celtics. He has easily been the most underrated player in the league his entire career. An all time great and he stuck with the C's through the tough times all the way through to a ship. Don't even pick up the phone for these calls Danny

  • g

    Mostly all great comments. We are so conditioned to ‘win’ at any cost that we forget to enjoy the game. Danny, everyone, let us chill and remember that this team cannot, willnot get any worse than now. Promise that no 1 or 2 seed will want THIS team, as it is, in a 7 game stretch. The fire is NOT burning in their guts yet, but it will. As someone else put it, trading for Howard is the only trade and that won’t happen. Loose the big 3, loose hope, loose ticket sales and loose royally. Too late to blow it up. The big 3 will be joined by quality personel next year as the rebuilding officially begins. Just strap in and enjoy the damn journey! Believe in the impossible. Nothing to loose at the Garden but respect if we loose PP on purpose. History was built BECAUSE Red did the right thing, not the corporate money thing. Plus we all learn more when we loose. We learn how to better appreciate a win!

  • tup33

    They should have used amnesty on kg. Now their best option may be to bring him off the bench to play against teams second units. Put Bass in the starting line up, he and rondo will need to grow as a duo for the future. And when March rolls around make some room creatively to try and get Jr Smith or Wilson chandler

    • CelticsBIG3

      Bass is terrible defensively. Who clogs the lane? Jermaine?

  • jimmy

    1 trade I wouldn’t mind is kg n pierce for Rudy gay and oj mayo it works for both teams……watching gay n Rondo play 2gether would b great

  • Tos

    Hmm, I’m curious to know which teams are calling and what they’re offering. A few guesses:

    Atlanta: Josh Smith

    Memphis: Rudy Gay & OJ Mayo

    LA L: Who knows what they’d offer, but can see them being interested.

    Philly: Iggy.

    Honestly, I find this all incredibly interesting, and I think the killer for the Celtics is that they gave Pierce such a big long extension, it’s too high for a player that just yesterday everyone is ready to throw on the pine for a veterans minimum streaky shooter. I say, for the right offer, pull the trigger.

    • Anthony

      No way Memphis, LAL, or Philly would offer any of those for Pierce. Atlanta possibly because of summer rumors that Josh Smith wanted out.

  • HondoHoudini

    Would the 92 C's trade Bird.

    • Mark

      Hindsight 20/20? Hell yeah!

      • CelticsBIG3

        Bird was spent by then, would have gotten very little for him

  • guest

    I'd like to see the C's use most of the cap space they'll be getting next year on Dwight Howard and (if he was some how interested in signing) seeing if Ray and KG would sign for a lot less money. I could see them doing it over other players though. They seem to be Celtics for the rest of their careers.

  • far east man

    Actually Auerbach DID try to trade Bird face up for Hakeem Olajuwon. The Rockets declined.

  • lakershater13

    Trade Pierce for Josh Smith and see if playing with Rondo and Smith would intrigue Howard to add Boston to his list of trade destinations. Then trade KG, Steimsma, Bradley, 2 firsts and 2 second round picks for Dwight.

    Rondo, Allen, Pietrus, Smith, Howard starting five

    Bass, Dooling, Marquis, O'neal, Moore first 5 off bench.

    Johnson, Wilcox, Sasha and 2 other random players possibly picked up in trades fill out roster.

    Rebuilding or Championship contenders?

    With Rondo, Smith and Dwight how would the Celtics not be the best defensive team in the league? Plus lob city might have some competition.

    • lakershater13

      Before you say "why would Orlando trade with the Celtics?":

      4 teams Howard wants to go to Clippers, Lakers, Nets, Dallas

      Clippers: Who do you trade Jordan and Gomes? Jordan is a good young center but needs to be around star players to have an impact. In my opinion Jordan is kind of a one trick pony on offense. Keep him off the offensive glass and he is useless. Decent defender. Him at 10 mil a year on a crappy team doesnt look good. I dont see Jordan as a building block and the Clips already traded all of there picks away.

      Lakers: Bynum for Howard… Why does Orlando take that? They would be in the same boat next season at the trade deadline with Bynum being a FA in 2013. LA could send Bynum and Gasol for Howard and Turk but does that actually make LA better? I don't think so.

      Nets: Brook Lopez and Okur…I don't think that does anything for Orlando with Lopez a RFA this summer.

      Dallas: Well they are not trading Dirk… So they have Nothing.

      Celtics: Ainge has an Extra 1st round pick this year and several extra second round picks over the next few years. They could send O'neal with KG and take back Turkoglu. Stiemsma I think will develope into a young decent back up center. Bradley has potential ( I think, if not send Moore or Johnson in the deal instead). 4 picks would certainly help them rebuild. Also with Howard, Turk, and Arenas gone that would open the door for Orlando to have some money to go after someone in 2012. Possibly Hibbert or Lopez to fill the void left by Howard.
      I dont see any other team giving up major pieces for a half season rental. So if the C's can get Smith and try to get Howard to request to play with his former AAU teammate the C's may be able to offer the best package in terms of the Magics future.

  • jpbl1976

    This may be sacrilege for the older fans but Pierce is this generation's Havlicek — unless Ainge got an incredible offer, I don't think Wyc would assent to it and even then, the other owners in the his group would probably veto it.

    It's just plain treasonous, really. Russell, Bird, Havlicek, Cousy — those are Celtic guys through and through and Pierce deserves to be on that list. Ainge would get lynched out of Boston if that happened.

  • pam

    apart from the memphis deal that would bring in rudy gay, the only thing i would settle for as a celtic would be a lottery pick. but the reason that won't happen is because pierce will not agree to be traded to a team which would actually be able to offer a lottery pick (because they would be non-contenders, hence lottery pick).
    i like the idea of josh smith and rondo playing together but josh smith is a headcase and assuming kg retires, we wont have someone influential to put these guys in line. we should hope doc plays the starters low minutes, we drop low enough to get a good pick in the draft and pray from then. dont see any great free agent coming our way

  • W2.

    Memphis does not trade Rudy Gay for Paul Pierce. No way. And my guess is that Atlanta would love to unload Josh Smith, but Danny is smart enough to know that you need a top five or at least ten talent to compete and Josh Smith only factors in if he could then go out and get Dwight or Kevin Love. And Love will be wrapped up within the month and Dwight wants to go somewhere else so….Celts in a bind.

    Danny has a good blueprint for building a team…..he just seems to have lost his touch drafting good players.

  • Wow…Team calling availability.It's such a great time to know the complete information.Please let me know about the article.