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Paul Pierce Was Nearly Traded For Josh Smith at Trade Deadline

Just when you think the trade rumors have quieted down for good, we have another one sprouting from beyond the grave a month after the trade deadline passed. In what has become a seemingly annual tradition at this point, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports is reporting for the second straight season that a key Celtics player was nearly dealt at the trade deadline. Last year, it was Ray Allen for O.J. Mayo. This year, the report involves the C’s long-time captain:

Before the trade deadline passed, the Boston Celtics had one final choice to make on the franchise’s future: In a three-way deal that would’ve secured Josh Smith and surrendered Paul Pierce to Dallas, Atlanta wanted Boston’s first-round draft pick, too.

The Celtics were in talks to send Paul Pierce to Dallas at the trade deadline. (AP)As much as any of the proposed deals discussed in February, perhaps this had been the closest Pierce had come to parting with the Celtics, sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Dallas had constructed a package that included Jae Crowder, Brandan Wright and Dahntay Jones to Atlanta, with the Mavericks and Hawks exchanging positions in the 2013 NBA draft.

Nevertheless, Boston wouldn’t relent on the pick and the deal died on meeting-room grease boards in three cities.

CH’s Take: Danny Ainge may be ruthless when it comes to dealing players, but he’s also no dummy. Suffice to say, trading away the heart and soul of your franchise for a player that frustrates many fans to no end in the basketball community would be one thing. Smith is younger and obviously has many more bright years ahead of him than Pierce. Giving up Pierce and a first round pick though for a guy you are likely going to have to sign to close to a max contract just to keep him after this year? That’s too much to ask.

Count me among those who wouldn’t want to see the C’s make a long-term commitment in the first place to Smith. His subpar free throw shooting, ugly mid-range shooting would make an underwhelming Boston offense even tougher to watch. With that said, for my money Pierce is a much better fit for the C’s in the next couple years than Smith would have been. Pushing sentimentality aside, the 35-year-old Celtics lifer has been playing at an absurd level for the past month-plus, despite playing with a pinched nerve in his neck for half the season.

He’s doing more for this team as constructed, night in and night out than Smith could have, and I’d argue that could remain the case in the next couple seasons as well with a proper supporting cast remaining in place around The Truth. Ultimately, if the trade went down, it probably would have divided the fanbase for those who wanted to see Pierce finish it out here, and those excited about a future featuring Rondo and Smith, which may have led Garnett walking into the sunset or perhaps LA to finish things out his career.

Thankfully in my estimation, Ainge didn’t get that far.

P.S. Does anyone else feel like Atlanta would have got next to nothing in that deal? A couple of cheap role players in Wright and Crowder and that’s it? No wonder they wanted a pick. Dallas would have made out like a bandit if the deal somehow got done.

  • Phil725

    I think I speak for all Celtics fans (those who wanted to keep the band together and those who didn't mind blowing it up,) when I say thank god. Flipping Pierce and torpedoing this year for the chance to sink the franchise for the next four years with a hideous Smith contract would be about as bad of a situation as possible. Tying it back to Ainge, I continue to be afraid of his infatuation with athletic guys with no history of actually being as good at basketball as their price tags would suggest. The Cs will have cap space again at some point in the next decade, and blowing it on the Smiths or DeAndre Jordans of the world would be bad.

    The surprising thing to me about this report is how low Pierce's trade value was, I just don't get it. I get Atlanta getting stiffed on offers for Smith; he's a flawed player who will demand a giant contract in a few months. Pierce has a very cap friendly contract, and is still an all star level player right now. To think that he was worth as much as Smith or that crap sandwich from Dallas seems absurd to me.

    • Boston Bobby

      Thank god, Smith and his little bitch attitude would have caused me to watch netflix till football season started.

  • james patrick

    This would have sunk the ship, much the same as the Perk deal did a couple of year ago.

  • Derek

    This makes no sense whatsoever from a cap standpoint unless other teams are involved. Macs can't take that money back

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