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Rumor: Paul Pierce is the key to getting Josh Smith

Sebastian Lena February 19, 2013 Celtics News, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rumors 49 Comments

With less than 30 hours remaining until Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET trade deadline, trade chatter involving the Boston Celtics has been turned up a notch.

News that the Atlanta Hawks are “definitely” trying to move Smith this week surely brought a smile upon the faces of the Celtics’ brass. It’s been no secret that the 27-year-old forward has been a long-time target of the team.

But while the Smith to Boston rumor isn’t anything new, the inclusion of Paul Pierce to any such deal certainly is.

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, a deal for Smith isn’t possible without No. 34:

NBA front-office sources told ESPN.com on Monday that the Boston Celtics have, indeed, registered their interest on the Smith front, with the caveat that they also remain highly interested in the Clippers’ Eric Bledsoe.

Yet a Boston deal for Smith, sources said, would almost certainly have to be built around Paul Pierce, because Kevin Garnett isn’t waiving his no-trade clause to go to the Atlanta Hawks if he’s not willing to waive it to go to Clipperland. And the prospect of Celtics front-office chief Danny Ainge exiling Pierce to the Hawks for Smith, after everything Pierce has done to restore the Celtics to glory over the past half-decade, is still hard to imagine.

At least for me.

That throws a wrench into the Celtics’ earlier plans, which had them reportedly looking into exchanging Brandon Bass and Jeff Green for Smith. (via Racine Journal Time’s Gary Woelfel)

However, that rumor never quite made much sense in the first place.

Would Green really be enough to bring in Smith? Why would Boston trade more players than they were receiving? Didn’t the team realize it only had 10 healthy players—not including Terrence Williams—on their roster?

Whatever the case, it comes down to two options for the Celtics: Either trade Pierce or find a third team to make a deal work.

If… and that’s a GIGANTIC if… the Celtics move Pierce, KG might be persuaded to waive his no-trade for the Clippers.

However, Stein says the team is not willing to give the Celtics both Bledsoe and Jordan in return for Garnett. The source believes it would be too much to give up two players under 25 for the 36-year-old big man.

Losing both Pierce and Garnett would be a monumental shift in the culture around Boston. It would also mark the definite close of the Big Three era.

Is GM Danny Ainge jumping the gun? Or is this the right time to pull the trigger?

We’ll find out very soon.

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  • KWAPT

    Hawks are trying to dump salary. I say there’s absolutely no way they take on money like Bass and Green.

    • Roy

      Pierce makes sense for them since it wouldn’t be a hit on their cap next year. I just don’t know how I feel abotu these trade deals. Too much loyalty to KG and Truth, but the thought of bringing in Bledsoe, Jordan and Smith has me tingling inside

      • Jmoose77

        Why?? The hawks have had a team that good for a long time and they couldn’t make the ECF. On paper you would tingle over Joe Johnson And Smith and Crawford and Halford to. But they are still weeent as good as we were, and still aren’t. Doc is a great coach but when are we gonna realize that this team is SPECIAL! Don’t forget one game away from the Finals last year.

    • http://driveittothemoon.com/ Lee in Oregon

      As much as I want Smith- I don’t want to see the Captain in another jersey….tough decisions for DA, although it might not come down to it- if Danny Ferry gets better offer

  • eddysamson

    No, just no. If you’re going to do anything with those 2 wait til the off season.

  • wil333

    Courtney Lee for jj hickson and Brandon Bass for Jordan Crawford.

    Tho i dont know if those trades would actually work haha

  • Matt W

    I just don’t see why the Hawks would want Paul Pierce. I love the guy, but he doesn’t really make them better in the future.

    • Mr Curet

      It’s just to dump salary, since only 4 of the 15 million of Pierce’s next season contract is guaranteed

      • Contact

        He doesn’t make us better in the future either. He’s 36 years old, his minutes are limited now and he might retire after this year. So why wouldn’t you trade him for smith?

        • Jon with no H

          because Pierce and/or KG could retire and we can just sign Smith as a free agent if he doesn’t extend with whoever he gets traded to

  • Noori

    Can we just pick Pierce back up after the Hawks dump him next year?

    • KY Celts fan

      we’d have to wait a full year, which means he wouldn’t be able to rejoin the team until the trade deadline next year.

  • DD

    PP has the trade kicker so why would Atlanta want to pay more for him?

    • Matt W

      Pretty sure under the new CBA, the Celtics have to pay the trade kicker.

  • Mr Curet

    I’d make that trade, yeah it’d suck to lose PP & KG but bringing in Smith, Bledsoe or Jordan to pair with Rondo, Bradley, Lee, Terry, Sully, Green & Bass would not only make Boston a younger & more athletic team but I think they’d be able to compete with the Heat & OKC. Besides, it’s better to get them know when they can rather than losing both KG & Pierce in retirement & get nothing in return.

  • Marc

    without KG & pierce we would be a horrible shooting team. i know they are only here a couple more years, but we would be driving every play

  • Noori

    Theres gotta be a way to keep our big 3 and get Smith!

    Or if we have to trade PP we owe him a contender…not the freakin hawks!

  • mike

    Is’nt there still 48 hrs as of 3pmET today left til THURSDAYS deadline? This post started off saying less than 30 hrs left???

    That being said,

    Either trade both pierce and KG or just keep them and run with the core players left this year. I believe pierce and KG may retire at the end of this season so they can go after Josh SMith in free agency and he reportedly wants to be in boston.

    So keep the team and get SMith in the summer OR…

    Do the pierce to atl trade and see if you can get KG to go to CLippers for bledsoe and Deandre Jordan if he is told Pierce is on his way out as well.

    • I bleed green in L.A.

      Agreed. Only trade Pierce if you can trade KG. Make it a 3-way deal with Pierce and KG leaving and the Celts getting Smith, Bledsoe and Jordan. Then all three teams can make the salaries work with more low level players involved.

      • mike

        i like your screen name. I also live in L.A. ( the valley)

  • Roy

    I wouldn’t mind letting this one ride out, but I also feel like maybe KG and Pierce would come back next year since we lost so many players to injury. I don’t know I’m just torn over it all. Too loyal to KG and Pierce, yet I know this team doesn’t have much when they both leave

  • Mark Wahlberg

    This is just dumb.Trading Paul Pierce for Josh Smith is like trading Kobe Bryant for Mark Blount. Dude sucks, is a head case, is dumb as a bag of potatoes,and is vastly overrated. Send them Bass and Rondo’s corpse and it’s a deal. You don’t send a 10-time All Star, top 10 Superstar player, even if he’s a few years fro retirement, for a chump with no head and poor shot selection.

    • TNceltic

      Agree! Don’t trade The Truth!

    • WinstonSalems

      Pierce for Smith is a fair deal. However, at this point, regardless of any trades that the C’s may or may not make, they will NOT win the championship this year. So, when you look to the future. PP and KG are another year older/possibly retired. They walk away from the game, the C’s get nothing in return. In this day and age, if a superstar leaves your team, you get some compensation for them (sign & trade, draft pick(s), etc). The worst case scenario is KG and PP retiring, the C’s were too tentative with their finger on the trigger and walk away from deals that *could’ve* landed them younger talent. Loyalty? Fan base? Ticket sales? Combination of the three? I guess we’ll never know what’s the driving force in these trade rumors/negotiations?

    • Caterpillar from Italy

      Agree 100%. Dumb trade.

  • Quest

    I hope there comes one whole year where we actually get it right and have the same team roster. Like how many years has this Feb major trading scenario gone on now with Ainge? Predicting Rajon on the block next Feb.

    • steve

      rajon’s always on the block bro

  • Cos

    I say stay put and let Smith come over during the offseason! smith wants a big payday right, but dont you think he can be sold on it if they tell him that he will get his payday as soon as Paul/KG retire a year or 2 after smith is on the team? If i was smith id do it! take a bit less and go for a championship and once PP and KG hang it up he gets the pay upgrade. Imagine Rondo/Bradley/Pierce/Smith/KG!! Smith is Rondo’s best friend (and Perk) so i can definately see him coming to Boston, according to Smith Rondo tells him to come to Boston pretty much everytime they talk on the phone! just stay patient! wait till offseason. But i do agree a Jordan+Smith combo instead of Pierce/KG is nice, that would be amazing defense but AWEFUL shooting!

    • CoachAJ

      We really could stay put and get Smith for little to nothing if he was smart. Wait one season on the payday as an unrestricted FA. Play for us for season then slide right into PP’s salary slot, get paid, but most importantly, play for an instant contender next year, before PP/KG leaves. Also consider that this year could be KG’s last as well. He could be coming to replace him.

      • ziggy

        My thoughts exactly, it would be madness to trade away such an important piece for something we can pick up as FA in the off season.

        This kind of a move would make so much sense as well, considering KG and PP probably have 1.. maybe 2 years left in the tank to make a run for another ring.

        With the exception for another decent big man I already believe our roster is pretty darn good.. just Imagine what it could be like with J.Smith.

  • zippittyay

    Paul Pierce has earned the right to retire a Celtic if he wants to. If he wants to go somewhere else to have a better chance at another title, then fine. Hard to believe that would be the Hawks.

    • CoachAJ

      I agree with your comment. Your don’t trade the cornerstone of the franchise when he is on his last go around. You just don’t.

  • tim

    rondo for gortat and phoenixs first round pick or any legitatame center

  • Mike in DC

    If they’re gonna blow the whole thing up, this one works on the ol’ trade machine:

    ATL: D. Jordan

    BOS: Bledsoe, J. Smith, D. Howard, W. Green

    LAC: Garnett, Terry

    LAL: Rondo, Bass

    • ZabJudah

      that would be dope

  • JG

    Here’s the thing. Smith is talented but another one of these guys who just isn’t a winner. No team he plays on as a top 2 or maybe even 3 or 4 option will win an NBA title. There are certain guys that just don’t have that ability. They are talented and can put up numbers but that’s about it (see Dwight Howard). If the celtics did this I’d be upset to see pierce go for a guy like smith. Giving up the heart and soul of this franchise for a guy who could never have what it takes to be a Celtic. When smith starts losing his athleticism in 3 years, he’ll pretty quickly not even be able to post he numbers he puts up, which frankly don’t even matter in the first place. Unless Ainge is bringing him here in order to land/attract someone else, I can’t see why he loves smith so much.

  • http://www.greenheadzblog.blogspot.com ChiefGreenHeadz

    I agree 100% with the folks here who say “keep KG and Truth”. We most certainly can ride it out until the end of the season with some free agent adds — if we’re not winning it all this year with our current core, there’s no trade out there to change that. If you’re looking to the future, both Smith and Howard will be free agents (unless they agree to long term elsewhere in trade) so the pitch can start anew in Summer. Incidentally, that pitch would probably go a lot more swimmingly with KG and Pierce behind it agreeing to take pay cuts. Trades can happen to free up space. But, you know…I think the trade talk is garbage, anyhow. And I agree that it would be sheer lunacy to expect Smith to lead us to a championship – even with Bledsoe and Jordan joining Rondo, Bradley & co. He just ain’t it, folks. Wildly talented but doesn’t show those credentials.

  • ziggy

    I don’t really see the point though, the guy wants to come to the C’s, why not just wait until this offseason when his contract expires? Isn’t it quite clear that’s the only reason Atlanta is pushing so hard for a trade, they don’t want to be left empty handed.

  • Fist

    Paul, you had a good run Boston will miss you, good luck in Atl.

  • john rotolo

    What Mark Wahlberg said.Pierce knocks down game winners.Josh Smith throws up airball threes early in the clock.Knuckleheads don`t win titles unless they`re surrounded by savvy vets.Does anybody really think Bledsoe ,Smith and Jordan are the nucleus of a champioonship team?

  • david

    So maybe you swap PP and KG for some younger talent. But is what you get back really going to be good enough to loose what another year of their mentorship will do for the younger guys we already have? Besides if you are going to trade hall of fame talent at least make sure you get back someone capable of being (or becoming) a regular all-star. If you can’t, why not position for cap space and the chance to buy allstar talent?

    • Chief

      Well said, would sully be as good as he is without KG in his ear and PP showing the new guys the Celtic way.

  • frickenWaaaltaaah

    The Celtics can not expect to re-sign Bledsoe if they DO have Rondo.

    The Celtics can not expect to re-sign Josh Smith if they DO NOT have Rondo.

  • frickenWaaaltaaah

    The Hawks will not trade Josh Smith for an expiring contract. It doesn’t make any sense.

    Why would you trade a guy who is going to walk away in free agency for a guy who has even one more year if all you want to do is save money??

    Another reason the Hawks can’t give away Smith for an ‘expiring contract’ is because the franchise already has a huge credibility problem with the local fanbase. They are already forced to rely heavily on marketing VISITING teams and their stars to sell tickets, and it’s not at all like they’ve been nothing but terrible over the past decade or so.

    So which rumor makes more sense: the Hawks are going to trade Smith to cut salary? Or the Hawks are now talking with the Bucks about Monta Ellis?

    Seriously, the Hawks need to get a guy if they move Smith.

  • Jared

    It’ll hurt to see The Truth go. He is such a great closer. Thanks for the slow mo shakes and shimmys for all these years. We’re gonna miss you!

  • Lewis35

    Do it!!!!!

  • http://www.greenheadzblog.blogspot.com ChiefGreenHeadz

    I’m assumIng that the Hawks still consider themselves players in the Dwightmare Sweepstakes (he IS from Atlanta, after all) so a salary dump would allow them more financial flexibility AND Pierce (if he stuck around for less $) could be a proven veteran presence next to Howard. But still, not gun’ happen.

  • adam

    this team would be good and set for the future if they got rid of kg and pierce. but getting rid of pierce? I thought the dude was going to retire a Celtic. this is a slap in the face to him after all he did and put up with for this team.

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