Boston Celtics: Why the C's Must Consider Trading Paul Pierce

Jeremy Gottlieb@@jmg2776Contributor ISeptember 10, 2012

Pierce could be trade bait if the C's are floundering at the deadline.
Pierce could be trade bait if the C's are floundering at the deadline.Jim Rogash/Getty Images

He's the captain and The Truth.

He's the longest-tenured Celtic of any coach or player in the organization.

He's easily one of the five best Celtics of all time, maybe even better.

Yet, if they get off to a slow start this season or are floundering around the trading deadline like they were last year, the C's may just have to seriously think about dealing Paul Pierce.

It's not a must. It's not necessary. But it's not out of the question, especially if the upcoming season doesn't go the way the Celtics hope.

In case you missed it, this will be the last year of Pierce's contract. He's already spoken of his wish to test free agency for the first time in his career after the season.

In other words, if you believe that this will be Pierce's last season in Boston, you may be on to something. 

Thanks to last year's near-miss in the team's attempt to make another NBA Finals appearance, the Celts have chosen to take a path more akin to reloading than rebuilding. Veteran Jason Terry and young, developing guard Courtney Lee were brought in. Brandon Bass, Jeff Green and Chris Wilcox, all young veterans, were re-signed.

Depth was provided via the draft in Jared Sullinger, Fab Melo and Kris Joseph. And, perhaps most importantly, Kevin Garnett—the biggest key to the C's late-season explosion last year—was retained.

And even though Ray Allen left for Miami, the nucleus of Pierce, Garnett, Green, Bass, Wilcox, Lee, Terry, Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley will still be strong—and, if everyone remains healthy, good enough to represent one of the top teams in the East.

Still, one has to wonder what the Celts may have in mind if they wind up hovering around the .500 mark come February.

That's what happened last year, but even though rumors swirled that multiple players—including Pierce himself—could be on the move, the team stood pat and that non-move resulted in a pretty special playoff run.

But will the team be as patient this year? It stands to reason that if coach Doc Rivers and GM Danny Ainge don't see something they like or believe in come the deadline, Pierce's salary could be cleared off the decks with an eye toward bringing in a younger big name next summer.

In the interim, Green would replace Pierce as the starting 3, giving the organization a chance to see what he can do playing that role full time. The team would get even younger, and the mantle of team captain would probably be handed down to Rondo, who is on the verge of superstardom. 

As for The Truth, it's hard to imagine him anywhere else or wearing any other uniform, particularly in the middle of a season.

He's a Celtic for life, no matter what happens—he just may have to carry on that legacy in another city.


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