After 15 seasons in Boston Celtics green, it would appear there's a good chance we'll see the star forward donning another team's colors in the 2013-14 season.
Coming off of a 41-40 finish and a first round exit in the playoffs last season, the time has come for the Celtics to blow up the team that won the NBA title in 2008. The process has already started with the announcement that the team's deal to trade head coach Doc Rivers, per Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times.
At 35 years old, Pierce isn't exactly a valuable commodity to a team that is heading toward a rebuilding phase. Per Jackie MacMullan of ESPN, the Celtics have until June 30 to decide if they want to buyout Pierce's contract for $5 million or guarantee his $15.3 deal next season.
Here's the latest on what the Celtics may do with the star moving forward.
Cleveland a Willing Trade Partner
The problem with finding a trade partner is that a team must be willing to take up $15.3 million in precious cap space to take on a 35-year-old.
One such team that could do just that is Cleveland Cavaliers. According to Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe, the Cavaliers have already discussed the possibility of offering multiple second round picks in exchange for the forward.
The move would have both pros and cons for the Celtics.
First, they would rid themselves of Pierce's contract. When rebuilding, cap space is an important asset to have and they would be unloading him for free.
The problem is they are getting next to nothing in return. The 2013 draft class is already weak. Second rounders don't hold much value and this would be nothing more than a salary dump.
Josh Smith Sign-and-Trade Possibility?
To say that the Celtics won't get much in return should they do a lopsided trade like Cleveland isn't entirely true. The trade would net them a cool $15.3 million dollar trade exception.
The Celtics would need the exception to bring on the superstar forward because they are over the cap, but he would certainly go a long way in speeding along the rebuilding process. He averaged 17.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game with the Hawks this year and was high school teammates with Rajon Rondo.
Mid-Season Trade Bait?
Despite the buzz that Pierce could be traded and the looming buyout deadline, there's still a chance that Pierce remains with the Celtics for now.
According to Jamie MacMullen of ESPN, the Celtics aren't keen on trading Pierce unless they can net a first rounder in return. If they are unable to find a deal, it's likely that they won't buyout his contract and will keep him for the next season.
That would allow the C's to keep the veteran for part of next season in an attempt to trade him closer to the trade deadline.
Contending teams aren't likely to swing a deal for him right now because of cap restrictions, but they may be much more interested in a skilled swingman with an expiring contract at the all-star break next year.
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