NBA Rumors: Celtics Shouldn't Ignore Offers for Paul Pierce

Tim KeeneyContributor IJanuary 31, 2013

Jan 30, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics small forward Paul Pierce (34) reacts after a play against the Sacramento Kings during the second quarter at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The end of an era is nearing for the Boston Celtics, and no other move would further embody that end than dealing Paul Pierce, the bona fide face of the franchise for the past decade.

Serious rumors have been swirling for the past week about the star forward being shipped out of town, but according to HOOPSWORLD's Steve Kyler, you can expect those rumors to die down now that the C's will be without Rajon Rono for the next 12 months:

Before Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo went down to a torn ACL on Sunday, there was a real sense in NBA circles that Boston was at least seriously considering offers on Paul Pierce.

Boston’s view of the world has changed somewhat due to the Rondo injury and league sources say Boston wants to see how their squad handles life without Rondo for a few games before they decide whether to blow things up.

That's an understandable approach considering Pierce's importance to this city, but the Celtics should, at the very least, listen to offers if they roll in. 

The decision on whether or not to trade the 10-time All-Star needs to come down to how competitive the organization believes the team will be over the next two seasons.

Unfortunately, that's a tough question to answer, as this year's new-look Celtics have been the model of inconsistency. 

After a four-game losing streak to bring them into the month of January, Doc Rivers' boys proceeded to win six in a row.

Naturally, they responded to that boost in confidence with six straight defeats. The last in the line was easily the most heart-breaking: a double-OT loss to the Atlanta Hawks in which Rondo suffered his season-ending ACL tear. 

The Celtics were without their All-Star point guard, reeling possibly worse than any other team in the NBA and had to take on LeBron James and the defending champs. 

Of course, they won that overtime battle, and after a victory over the Sacramento Kings, they are now 2-0 without Rondo in the lineup. 

The C's have the pieces to theoretically replace him.

The guard-quartet of Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee, Jason Terry and Leandro Barbosa is better than most team's backup options.

Put them around Pierce, Kevin Garnett, the athletic, defensive-minded Jeff Green and several other role players, and you have what should be a playoff team, especially in the East. 

But does the current 22-23 squad have enough firepower to really make a run at a championship? Is there someone to consistently create off the dribble and free up the slew of outside shooters? 

If the answer to those questions are at least a possible "no," then it's time to consider moving one of the greatest Celtics of all-time. 

Pierce is undoubtedly still an effective player—19.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.5 steals per 36 minutes, 103 offensive rating, 18.2 PER—who means more to this city than is possible to describe with mere words.

However, if the Celtics don't expect to win a title this year or next (who knows how or when Rondo will return from injury in 2013-14), it has to be time to start from scratch. Pierce and Garnett, two of the cornerstones of this team, simply don't have enough left in the tank to keep serving as the building blocks. 

Unfortunately, Pierce is an expensive option for the next season-and-a-half, and unloading his monetary constraints while the Celtics can still get something for him is a near-must in the rebuild process. 

All good things must come to an end.