Welcome to wild trade rumor season… and this one is a bombshell.
CBS’s Ken Berger reports that Danny Ainge has been shopping Paul Pierce in trade offers.
Team executives involved in exploratory trade talks report that the Knicks (Amar’e Stoudemire), Lakers (Pau Gasol), Raptors (Bargnani) and Celtics (Paul Pierce) are open to discussing their high-profile names. In every case but one, the early indications are that none could be moved without a bad contract going back in return. (In Stoudemire’s case, his health and the $45 million left on his contract after this season almost certainly will prevent any deal from happening.) The lone exception, executives say, may be Pierce, whose ruthless scoring prowess and championship experience come with another attractive feature: only $4 million of his $15.3 million salary is guaranteed next season. With the Celtics playing better since Avery Bradley returned from injury, president Danny Ainge once again finds himself trying to determine whether the remnants of the 2007-08 championship team have enough to make one more run. Some rival executives believe the Celtics recently waived Jarvis Varnado and Kris Joseph to create roster flexibility for a potential trade. If Ainge decides to stand pat, a deal involving Pierce — which would mark the true end of the Big Three era — could be re-examined around the draft or during free agency.
Even though I’m shocked, I shouldn’t be. The fact of the matter is Danny Ainge is willing to make whatever bold move there is out there to make this team better. And it’s times like these everyone dredges up his comments about the Celtics blowing a chance to trade away parts of their aging Big 3 in the late 80′s to continue their run of dominance.
It’s a sobering reminder that in this world of professional sports, almost everyone is expendable… regardless of how long they’ve been with a team. I guess if Hakeem Olajuwon can finish his career as a Raptor… then anyone can finished their careers anywhere.
For now… Avery Bradley may have saved Paul Pierce’s career. I hope everyone in the locker room understands that there are consequences for coasting… and one of those consequences might be the loss of their captain.