Well, it's time to dispel those rumors as nothing but that. There just doesn't seem to be a situation in which the Celtics can deal Pierce and feel good about it. Not only does he have so much history with the organization, but there are also other factors at play.
Coming into this season, no one even really considered the thought that the C's would trade The Truth. Can you seriously picture Pierce wearing anything but the Celtic green?
You probably can't, and GM Danny Ainge probably can't either.
Can you envision a scenario where the Celtics could deal Pierce and actually better themselves for this season in doing so? It just doesn't seem likely to happen.
If Boston were to deal Pierce, it would be because Ainge feels that the team needs to go into rebuilding mode. The C's wouldn't be getting any star players in return for him; they would merely be getting prospects and draft picks. You're not going to get Kevin Durant in return for the 35-year-old.
With all of the time Ainge invested into trying to keep the C's in the title race this offseason, it would be silly to essentially wave the white flag and deal The Truth. As soon as Kevin Garnett signed his multi-year deal (more to come on that), the message was already sent: The Celtics are in win-now mode.
If Boston deals Pierce, it is basically killing any chance it has at winning a championship this season.
As mentioned earlier, Garnett inked a three-year deal with the Celtics this offseason. That right there signaled that he and Boston's front office were in it for the long haul. If K.G. is in it for the long haul, then so is Pierce.
If the C's had any intention of possibly dealing Pierce during the season, it seems doubtful that they would have given Garnett that many years on his contract. That would kind of defeat the purpose of rebuilding, as you are extending your window with a 36-year-old.
The second K.G. signed on the dotted line, it was fundamentally set in stone that The Truth would be a Celtic through the 2012-13 campaign, and likely beyond.
It's not like Pierce is having a poor season. Not by any means.
Per 36 minutes, Pierce is averaging 20.9 points and 6.1 rebounds, the former being his best mark since 2006-07 and the latter his best since 2005-06. He is also taking care of the basketball, as his 11.6 turnover percentage is the second-lowest of his career.
As evidenced by his 40-point outburst against the Cleveland Cavaliers a couple of weeks ago, Pierce is still fully capable of putting the team on his back and carrying it to victory. Can he do it as frequently as he once could? No, but he can still do it, and it's difficult to name five players you'd rather have shooting the ball down the stretch of a game.
This is another reason why the Celtics will hold on to Pierce this year. They just will not be able to replace his solid production.
Even if the Celtics end up not contending for a title this season, it's nice to have a guy like Pierce around to mentor younger players like Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger and Jeff Green. Sure, Garnett is there for that too, but having both K.G. and Pierce as veteran influences should pay huge dividends.
Barring any big signings or trades, those four players mentioned above will likely be the core group of Celtics once Pierce and K.G. are gone. Don't you think it would be wise to have them all learn as much as they can from a Boston legend in The Truth?
Pierce is a seasoned vet who knows the game of basketball all too well. We may think Rondo is a genius on the floor, and you know what, he is, but he can still afford to soak up some more knowledge from Pierce.
Guys like Bradley and Sullinger have a ton of talent, and they will only get better with the right leadership. Why take that away from them?
It's a rare thing for franchise players to remain with one team throughout their careers nowadays. Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant will almost undoubtedly retire with their respective teams, Dirk Nowitzki will probably stay with the Dallas Mavericks, and Dwyane Wade will more than likely finish his playing days with the Miami Heat.
So why shouldn't Pierce conclude things with the Celtics?
Some may feel that sentimentality is a rather silly reason to keep a player, but Pierce is unquestionably one of the greatest Celtics of all time, and given the franchise's illustrious history, that is saying something significant.
There is no doubt that the No. 34 will be hanging in the rafters of TD Garden someday, and wouldn't it be appropriate for Boston to be the only team Pierce wears No. 34 (or any number) for?