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A Few Words About That Paul Pierce Chatter

On Friday, word slipped out that the Celtics might be discussing Paul Pierce as part of trade conversations. The information came from the reliable pen of Ken Berger of CBS Sports so it’s not to be discounted. That’s not the same thing as suggesting the Celtics are shopping Pierce. Rather, it’s more likely other teams saw the Celtics floundering, noted Pierce’s continued excellence and thought Danny Ainge might be of a mind to offload him for younger pieces. The phone rings on Causeway street and suddenly Ainge is “discussing” Pierce. It’s all very lawyer-y.

The Celtics current 5-game winning streak may have already calmed the Pierce trade waters and even though I agree with Brian’s assessment about the unlikeliness of Pierce moving before the deadline, it’s worth considering if there’s a way to upgrade the small forward spot and/or shift the roster dynamics.

I think the arguments for moving Pierce are all intertwined, if not exactly compelling. I see them through the prism of a potential matchup with Miami in the Eastern Conference Finals in May. Hit the jump and we’ll go through them.

1) Jeff Green is on a long term deal and may be more effective playing longer minutes with better players (the starters). It may not make sense to tie up so much salary ($25M) in two SFs given Boston’s concerns with the center and power forward spots and Miami’s vulnerability in those areas.

2) A younger or bigger small forward (be it Green or someone else) could more easily sustain his effort level against LeBron James in the playoffs. In a seven game series, Pierce can no longer impact both sides of the ball when guarding and being guarded by James. He wears out and because he’s so crucial to Boston’s already limited offense, the C’s can go into long droughts trying to put points up against Miami. There are also downstream effects on Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo, who have to take on more of the scoring burden when Pierce slips. And they both have their own offensive issues (KG – stamina, Rondo – periodic unwillingness to attack).

3) Pierce has great value for contenders due to his history of big game performance, his continued production (20.33 PER, his highest of the new Big Three era) and his limited long term salary liability (He’s signed for $15.3M next year but there’s a $4M buyout).

The best package for Pierce would be one that includes a tenacious defender at the small forward and a big for the PF or C spot. This is purely illustrative but for the former, think Tony Allen. For the latter, think Al Jefferson. Pierce + something could equal a package of that nature. It would even out the roster, give Boston some interior scoring Miami would struggle to defend and force LeBron to battle two, energetic SFs all game long.

Whether the C’s move Pierce or just pursue a big through other means: whoever comes back must be an effective pick and roll defender. If the big in question is at all lumbering, Miami will expose him, like they did to Roy Hibbert last year. That’s why talk of Jefferson is a non-starter for me. You don’t have to go small to battle Miami. But you do have to go quick.

So, there we are. Shy of a major injury that pushes the C’s to assured non-contender status, Pierce is probably going nowhere in the next five weeks. But the idea of moving him is at least defensible, unless you’re hung up on loyalty, which is not Ainge’s strong suit when it comes to player personnel decisions.

  • Dee

    NO, just no.That will mess up the locker room as well.And as much as I love Green, I don't really count on him to look in Lebron's eyes and hit a winning three in a game 6 or something…he's not there yet.Just no.

  • Sophomore

    I can't think of a trade that would make Boston better, and it looks like you can't either! Jefferson and Allen for Pierce and, say, Lee would definitely weaken the Cs.

  • Ausceltic

    Pierce cannot be traded. Especially as I'm going to see the C's in April. It would break my heart

    WIth that said, I don't think that Danny would make the move, Pierce is on a decent contract and is worth every cent. He is not going to get value in return because he will have to give too much up (Pierce and other players/draft picks/cash).

    Don't do it Danny

    Signed Every Celtic Fan

  • Rob


  • CelticsBIG3

    I hate this time of year. I don't trust any of these basketball analysts that put out these reports. I'll believe it when I see it (hopefully I won't see it).

    • janos

      hi big3
      are you impress celtics lately? they are impress team!

      • CelticsBIG3

        Absolutely! Even Jeff Green who I haven't been very nice to at times. Posterizing Jermaine O'Neal will do that for me.

  • tomrod

    So if we get someone like Tony Allen we wont have any offensive droughts?

    I think based on your argument its a better solution to just have Pierce playing less minutes against Lebron. Something like 28 minutes and Green 20.

    I think we need one big (6 11) that is quick and a good defender, to be a complete team, and hopefully that can be find through free agency.

  • Phil725

    I'm very glad you listed Al Jefferson as a non-starter, I was one paragraph away from flipping out. Only Amare is as bad as Jefferson for that much money. There are two sides of the ball. He's not worth signing, let alone trading for.

    The lawyery explanation is exactly what this is; the phone rings, and you get page views by mentioning 'Pierce' and 'trade' in the same sentence. There's no one available who can come close to helping this team enough to offset the loss of Pierce. I'm sure we all think less of Jeff Green than Ainge, but even he doesn't think he can step into Pierce's shoes.

    Even if there was an option, can you see this core circling the wagons around a starting lineup involving something like Jeff Green and Rudy Gay? The team would fold the minute they heard Pierce was traded. That alone makes it a blow it up or nothing proposition. That's why looking at guys like Jefferson (or someone who can actually play DLeague level defense,) is pointless.

  • Phil725

    "Your comment must be approved by the site admins before it will appear publicly."

    It happened again. Just random or something?

  • elroz

    So now that the team has shown chemistry, defense, and is clicking…we want to waste our time and talk about dealing one of the two most important players on this team? (KG being the other).

    Having Green relieve minutes from Pierce is already taking place, though gradually. If they end up facing Miami with the likes of a Tony Allen – isn't it clear that LeBron would rest on defense? A Tony Allen is not a difficult man to defend. Pierce is. Having a relatively rested Pierce (due to Green) and putting in Green when Pierce is sitting, is what they need and what they will have if Green can continue to give an average of 10 points a game and about 25 minutes a game at SF and PF spots. They can play Pierce, Green, and sometimes Bass on LeBron and run pays for all three when he is guarding them. The point is to save Pierce a bit during the reg. season…and play him a little more in the playoffs, unless the bench plays well and so you can rest the starters when you can even in the playoffs – seriously, look how the bench has played recently? Their main issue, their main goal, is defense. When you have Lee, Green, Terry, Sullinger on the floor – you will get some offense from somewhere most of the time…if the bench comes out and plays energetic Defense, the starters can rest an extra few minutes and the team will not fall behind. This is the key – bench chemistry and commitment. Don't touch Pierce.

  • hydrofluoric

    Here is the complete list of players for whom it is acceptable to trade Paul Pierce:

    Kevin Durant
    LeBron James
    Anthony Davis

    I'll let you know if any more come up.


      I AGREE 100% WITH YOU

    • CelticsBIG3

      Thanks for not including Wade like most idiots would.

  • janos

    Hi ryan is janos
    Our team on current team proper if is slow news day ples tell other web mangers make a report nba future celtic college draft or make fun lakers but not talk trade this guy; is stupid ok thank you

  • CG12

    Paul isn't going anywhere. This is the same dumb trade chatter ginned up by the media that happens every year. It is about 95% BS / exaggeration / manipulation and maybe 5% reality. Hey, you need to sell magazines, newspapers, and web ads somehow.

    • hydrofluoric

      Danny tried to trade Pierce for New Jersey's top-3 protected pick last year. If Billy King hadn't pulled out, Danny would most definitely have tanked the team's future for years to come.

      • CG12

        All I know is that it didn't happen. I don't doubt a conversation was had, but I tend be very skeptical of unsourced reports saying various trades "almost happened." In any event, I don't see PP being traded this year. The team is playing well, he is playing well. Again – I don't doubt that Danny took phone calls inquiring about Pierce when the team was bombing on the West Coast, but nothing happened and the recent surge makes it exceedingly likely that nothing will happen.

  • Zee

    This doesn't account for chemistry issues. You saw what happened when Perk got traded.

  • Celts fan #1

    I would trade Pierce and Terry for Cousins.

  • Don't believe the basket ball analyst. most of the time they predict the wrong things and misguides you in all situations.

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