2 Cents on Trade Rumors - Pierce Edition


With all the drama the last ten days or so surrounding the Clips/ Celts deal, anything else has largely been ignored. It may be a good time to look at some of the other rumors that have been floated and some other possible scenarios.

One of the first involves KG. If Doc is the only coach that he wants to play for, what does KG do if Doc does not come back? Obviously he could just decide to retire. If that be the case, would he wait and waive his no-trade clause? Being traded to a team looking to cut payroll knowing that he would retire after the trade could make his contract as valuable as the buyout option on PP. It could help both the Celtics and another team gain payroll relief. But it only makes sense if the Celts can get someone they actually want (whether to keep or flip) AND KG has decided to retire regardless.

A couple of weeks back, it was reported that there was quite a bit of interest in PP. ESPN Insider listed the Bulls, Clippers, Lakers, Thunder, Rockets, and Knicks as teams that had shown interest. With the exception of Houston, what all of these teams have in common is that they are at, uncomfortably close to, or above the projected tax for next season. Let's look at them one at a time.

Chicago - It is no secret that the Bulls paid the luxury tax for the first time ever and that they would love to unload the contract of Carlos Boozer (15.3M in 13-14 and 16.8M next). I could picture PP playing for Thibs or they could do the buyout. If it were the only way to get Butler, I would have to think about it. In the end though, Boozer doesn't fit in Boston's plans, there is probably nowhere to unload him, and we would not want the huge money cripple for next year. Pass.

Clippers - Too much written about this already. Moving on.

Lakers - I don't see this as wanting PP for the buyout. He could really help that team and he just might not mind playing there since it is home and they were "his team" growing up. The only player to trade is Pau Gasol. While the Celts need another center whether KG stays or goes, Gasol will be 33 and has bad knees along with various other ailments. It is an expiring contract, but at 19.3M it moves the Celts payroll in the wrong direction unless you could include sending out maybe JET with PP. Hopefully there is a better option.

Thunder - This is the most intriguing. Why would they have interest in PP? It could make some sense on their part to have Pierce at SF if they want to move Durant to PF full time. At almost 68M in payroll, do they only want the contract to buy out? For that to make sense they would have to send out (unload) a contract of significant value. When you look at their payroll, Westbrook and Durant are not going anywhere and Martin's 12M contract expired making him a free agent. The only other contract that fits the bill is Ibaka's. It jumps from 2.2M this year to 12.3M next. Could it be that they have decided they made a mistake letting Harden go and keeping Ibaka and want that money back to try and re-sign Martin? Doubtful, but it would at least be worth a phone call.

Knicks - Pretty much the same as the Thunder except with different names. PP at SF and Carmelo at PF. At almost 75M for eight players already, that won't work. If the intent is to go the buyout route, whose contract do they want to unload? Nobody will touch Stoudemire at 45.2M over the next two seasons (unless D'Antoni convinces the Lakers to swap Gasol for him). Carmelo isn't going anywhere. That leaves Chandler's 14M contract. The Celts do need a center. Would NY gamble that Camby and KMart can hold down the middle?

Rockets - They want to cut payroll to the bone to hopefully get Howard and Paul. Since the time that they were said to have interest, they have made other moves with Brooks, Delfino, Beverly, and Garcia all being cut. That only leaves the 5M Thomas Robinson. I don't see him as a fit in Boston and is probably not a good trade chip as no one seems to be falling over themselves to try and get him.

So all of these leave one wondering whether these teams really were/ are interested in PP, or is this just some beat writer's best guess. But there are two more recent rumors - Cleveland and Milwaukee.

The Cavs supposedly want to offer their two second round picks.They have plenty of cap room so they can absorb his contract with no pain. The cap room also means they aren't looking to buy him out. But why would they want him? Thank Luke Walton. Luke is now a free agent and if you look at his stats, he gave the team virtually nothing as an individual. Yet when he was on the floor, the team improved as a whole in nearly every metric. Now what happens if you have a player who makes everyone else better AND makes a significant contribution himself? The owner has expressed a desire to make the playoffs next year and PP could certainly help. Our guards underperformed this past season, so include Ellington at his 3.1M qualifying offer with the two picks and I could get on board with that trade.

As for Milwaukee, there is no way to guess what they want. The fans seem to want to tear it down and rebuild and management seems to be hinting at a reload. Either way, if it would crack open the door to maybe getting Larry Sanders, then I would definitely want to hear what they have to say.

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