The Boston Celtics are the source of many NBA trade rumors; the latest is that the team would be open to trading Paul Pierce.
CBS Sports reported on Thursday that the Celtics are prepared to entertain offers for Paul Piece because of the $32 million he's owed over the next two season. While it would make sense for the Celtics to deal Pierce, he's also the player out of the Big 3 that could be the most difficult to deal.
Pierce, 34, has really stepped up his play of late -- especially his 30 points against the Houston Rockets and 34 points against the New York Knicks -- and has always been the leader of the team, but the Celtics are in an awkward position.
The Celtics likely don't have the roster to compete for a NBA title this season, but are also in a good position to make the playoffs. If the season ended today the Celtics would be the seven seed in the Eastern Conference and are a mere two games behind Atlantic Division leader Philadelphia.
Completely disbanding a playoff caliber roster would likely upset the team's passionate fan base, but a rebuild will have to occur in the next year or two. Point guard Rajon Rondo is the future of the team, while Piece is 34, Ray Allen is 36, and Kevin Garnett is 35.
The team has been inconsistent throughout the shortened 66-game season, though the Celtics did appear to take a turn for the better after the All-Star break. The Celtics have won five out of their last six games, which further complicates things for Danny Ainge, the Celtics president of basketball operations.
Ainge has to decide whether he is willing to shake things up for the future or hope for the best this season. The good thing is that the Celtics have a handful of players that will generate a lot of trade interest.
Rajon Rondo is desired by many, but Ainge and coach Doc Rivers have steadfastly denied that he is on the trading block.
In all that time we did not talk once about any trades, Rivers said of a recent hour and a half long meeting with Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. There was not one single thing about Rajon Rondo that crossed my desk.
Shooting guard Ray Allen is a bit more available, but the Celtics reportedly want quite the haul for the sharpshooter. The Los Angeles Clippers are believed to be very interested in adding Allen, especially after Chauncey Billups went down with a season-ending injury, but might not have the parts that the Celtics desire in a trade.
Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick reported last week that the Celtics were looking for a young talent and a first-round draft pick for Allen. Whether any team would be willing to pay that much for a player on the downturn of his career is unknown, though someone looking for that final piece to push for a NBA title might be willing to make the big move.
The Celtics will have until March 15th -- the NBA's trade deadline date -- to make a decision on this team. It could keep all of the parts intact for a playoff push or slowly sell of the parts in a rebuilding effort.