NBA Rumors: Trading Paul Pierce Would Be Insanely Foolish of Boston Celtics
Trading a player like Paul Pierce, a team captain and legend, is not what the Boston Celtics are all about, and moving him would be a slap in the face to a great player whose No. 34 will one day hang in the rafters at the TD Garden.
A day after the Celtics lost their fifth straight game, to former center Kendrick Perkins and his Thunder, Yahoo! Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski reports that "several contending teams have inquired" about the availability of C's captain Paul Pierce.
"There are a lot of calls asking if [Boston] will blow it up," an Eastern Conference official told Wojnarowski.
Is trading Pierce a good move for the Celtics' future?
Let me say this: If Celtics general manager Danny Ainge blows up this roster that is too old, not athletic enough and not deep enough, there are several players who should go before Pierce.
Pierce is one of the few players on the Celtics that can score and defend well on a consistent basis. A heel injury limited his effectiveness at the beginning of the season, but there is no one better offensively on the Celtics than Pierce. While his quickness is not what it used to be, Pierce's skills as a one-on-one perimeter defender are still good as well.
Not only can he score and defend, Pierce is clutch and steps up his game when it matters most. Veterans who have Pierce's abilities don't grow on trees, and trading him would do nothing for the Celtics.
I can't imagine a contending team giving up anyone great for a 33-year-old forward who has battled injuries this season, and who also has two years and $32 million left on his current contract. If you think the Celtics could get a first-round pick and a young player for someone like Pierce you are crazy.
I understand Ainge doesn't want to ride the Big Three too long like Red Auerbach did in the early 1990s with Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish, but it's too late for that.
Ainge traded young center Kendrick Perkins last year to the Oklahoma City Thunder, in a move that created a hole in the frontcourt the Celtics have yet to fill. In that trade he acquired Jeff Green, who despite having great talent, is not someone to build a team around at either end of the floor.
Green will miss the entire season while recovering from heart surgery, but he isn't the answer for the Celtics going forward. Green will never be a superstar player.
Ainge has failed over the last few seasons to bring in more youth and athleticism to the Celtics roster, so what he should do is ride out this season and use the enormous salary cap the team has in the summer to improve the roster.
The only Celtics players under contract for next season are Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Brandon Bass, JuJuan Johnson and Avery Bradley. With over $30 million coming off the books when Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen's contracts expire after this season, Ainge will have the financial flexibility to add significant talent in the summer through free agency.
Ainge should let the season unfold, select an athletic player in a loaded 2012 draft class, and use his cap room to improve the team in the summer.
Trading Paul Pierce, a Celtics legend and arguably the greatest scorer in team history, would be a terrible move in so many ways.
Nicholas Goss is an NBA Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report.
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