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.