Would Danny Ship Out The Captain?

Today, Adrian Wojnarowski poses some provocative questions about whether the Celtics should trade Paul Pierce:

Celtics headed for rebuild, maybe sooner than later - Adrian Wojnarowski - Yahoo! Sports

As Kevin Garnett and Allen become free agents this summer, money will peel away from the salary cap. Between then and now, the bigger question promises to be: Does ownership and general manager Danny Ainge go for the complete rebuild and trade Pierce before the March 15 deadline? Several contending teams have inquired about Pierce’s availability. As one Eastern Conference official said, there are "lots of calls asking if [Boston] will blow it up." . . .

Garnett and Allen come off the Celtics’ cap this summer, but Pierce is the most perplexing member of the Big Three. He has two years and $32 million left on his contract through the 2013-14 season, and moving him for a shorter deal could make the Celtics a huge player in free agency the next two years. As Boston officials contend, this is the reason they didn’t re-sign Perkins and Tony Allen to long-term contracts. They’ve been preparing for the time their core became too old, for the team’s need to start over.

To be more precise, if the Celtics traded Pierce (without taking back additional long-term salary) they could clear $16,790,345 from next season's cap, and as much as $15,333,334 the following year. Without Pierce next season, the team could have realistically as much as $40 - $45 million in cap room, depending on things like rookie salaries, how much the cap fluctuates, etc. That's enough for at least two max contract guys to pair with Rondo. Or, the team could sign-and-trade Rondo, and do a fresh rebuild with three or more major free agents.

(more after the poll and break)

In addition to the cap flexibility, Pierce probably has some trade value around the league. He had an excellent season last year -- his best season ever in terms of efficiency -- and he's showing signs of life this year after a start that has been marred by injuries. It's likely that Pierce could bring us back a draft pick or two, and maybe a young guy with some potential. By trading Pierce, the idea would be to jump start rebuilding. Danny Ainge has repeatedly lamented Red's refusal to trade Larry Bird and Kevin McHale for sentimental reasons, and this could be Danny's chance to undo what Red did. He's already tried to trade Pierce at least once (in order to draft Chris Paul); perhaps Danny would be inclined to do so again.

At the same time, there's something to be said for allowing Paul Pierce to remain a career Celtic. Look at the leader board of all-time Celtics statistics: Pierce is top-seven all-time in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks. He's on the cusp of passing the legend Larry Bird for second all-time in Celtics scoring. He led the team to a championship after a long drought, and has been the face of the franchise for 14 seasons now. The Celtics are a franchise that have traditionally rewarded loyalty and have preferred to keep players part of the family. On a visceral level, trading Pierce would hurt badly. That's without even getting into arguments regarding whether Pierce and the rest of the core can lead a deep playoff run.

So, where do you stand? If a team makes a legit offer for Pierce (say, an expiring contract, a young player with some upside, and a #1 pick) do you pull the trigger? Or are you disinclined to trade Pierce under any circumstances?

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join CelticsBlog

You must be a member of CelticsBlog to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at CelticsBlog. You should read them.

Join CelticsBlog

You must be a member of CelticsBlog to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at CelticsBlog. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker