NBA Trade Rumor: (Berger) Memphis may be interested in Paul Pierce

Jared Wickerham

The vultures are circling.

It didn't take long for the rumors to start. In fact, Ken Berger states that the test results weren't even finalized before rival execs started leaking that they could see interest in Paul Pierce heating up around the league.

Rondo injury could hasten breakup of the Celtics - CBSSports.com

One team that rival execs expect to be at the forefront of the Pierce pursuit is Memphis, which delayed but did not solve its long-term payroll concerns by getting under the luxury-tax line with last week's trade with Cleveland. While Memphis can survive for the rest of this season without trading Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph or Marc Gasol, it still cannot sustain such a top-heavy payroll for the next two seasons. Pierce would keep the Grizzlies dangerous -- arguably, make them more dangerous -- for the rest of this season, and allow them to reorganize their spending as soon as next season.

Blah. I hate this.

Update: Steve Bulpett adds to the rumor of interest around the league, but rightly pours cold water on the idea of a fire sale.

Rondo’s done, and so are the Celtics

There was word last night from two league executives that teams will now look more closely at the Celts to see if a piece or two can be harvested for other clubs’ runs. President of basketball operations Danny Ainge will most certainly receive offers for captain Paul Pierce, and even some complementary pieces could draw interest. But amid calls from the crowd to blow things up, one must keep in mind that, in the NBA, the Celtics would have to take back similar salaries when trading players away. So unless an opposing general manager has young and promising players that a.) the C’s want and b.) add up to somewhere in the vicinity of the nearly $17 million Pierce will make this season, then the prospect of a deal is pretty much a non-starter. It’s also possible the Celts could take a chance on a player with a longer deal, but we already know they’re wary of talented problems (see: Cousins, DeMarcus).

More from Stein:

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