All of the trade rumors surrounding the Boston Celtics in the last week seem to contradict team president Danny Ainge. The latest rumor suggests the team’s biggest, and perhaps most beloved star since Larry Bird, could be on the move.
According to Adrian Wojnarowksi of Yahoo! Sports, the Brooklyn Nets offered Boston forward Kris Humphries, promising second-year guard MarShon Brooks, and a first-round draft pick for Paul Pierce. However, Boston wants more, despite Ainge stating his club is not participating in trade talks.
The 10-time All-Star Pierce has been linked to rumors before, but with the Celtics struggling to stay in the playoff picture this season, they may listen this time. The advanced age of Pierce and center Kevin Garnett, coupled with the season-ending ACL tear to point guard Rajon Rondo, could mean the Celtics are in line for a rebuild.
Garnett was linked to the L.A. Clippers during All-Star Weekend for young talent in point guard Eric Bledsoe and center DeAndre Jordan, signaling Boston is more than toying with the idea of hitting the reset button. Even though Ainge has publicly said otherwise, ESPN reported Rondo was even on the trading block for the Lakers Dwight Howard.
Pierce, 35, has spent his entire 14-year career with Boston since they drafted him No. 10 overall in the 1998 NBA Draft. He is second all-time on the Celtics career-scoring list with 23,561 points in 1,078 career games, and was the first option in Boston’s last championship run in 2008.
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His leadership and playoff experience, along with his partially guaranteed contract for next season, make Pierce very attractive to a team like Brooklyn. The fourth place Nets are currently 19th in the NBA in points scored, and Pierce could certainly create mismatch problems in the playoffs against high-octane teams like the Miami Heat and New York Knicks. The Nets will also foot the biggest bill next season under the new luxury taxes, and moving Humphries could allieviate some of that pain.
According to Yahoo!, the Celtics wanted Brooklyn to sweeten the deal by including young European forward Mirza Teletovic, and another first-round pick, but the Nets are hesistant.
Pierce is currently netting 18.3 points per game, but at a low 41 percent clip.