Hard as it is to imagine Paul Pierce in new threads, the 4-8 Celtics are running out of alternatives.
It's either deal Pierce and use the return to build a new team around Rajon Rondo, or hope this group recovers in time to make a late playoff push.
With each loss, the latter possibility grows more and more distant. Even in a so-so division, Boston lacks the legs to keep pace.
The sharks can smell the blood, and GM Danny Ainge has already heard from several other teams inquiring about Pierce's availability. Even at 34, Pierce's scoring know-how will draw deep interest and stiff competition.
I wouldn't call Pierce's departure a sure thing at this point—and yes, I'm aware that contradicts the guidelines of this list—but it grows more likely by the day.