Amidst the turmoil surrounding the Boston Celtics and their ongoing (though now apparently dead) discussions with the Los Angeles Clippers, it's starting to seem like—one way or another—next year's Cs are going to look vastly different. One of the biggest absences figures to be the departure of Paul Pierce.
Understand that Pierce is still a Celtic, but know also that the team is looking to get younger. Pierce, who has been with the team since 1998, probably has little interest in spending the few years he has left as part of a rebuilding project.
Though the talks that could have sent Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett to the Clippers have stalled yet again, it's difficult to imagine the Celtics getting the band back together for one more run after such a public indication that the coach and the front office are both ready to move on.
Pierce is in an odd situation, as he's got one more year on his deal and is technically not a free agent. Boston can buy him out for $5 million as long as it does so before June 30. Keeping him past that date guarantees him the full $15.3 million on the final year of his contract.
So, there are a lot of possibilities here. Boston could go for the buyout, freeing Pierce up to sign anywhere. Or, the team could trade its most iconic star since Larry Bird. However this summer shakes out, it certainly appears as though Pierce will be wearing another jersey next year.
Fortunately, he's got a few good options.