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Mentally Preparing for Potential Paul Deal

Somehow, it feels a little like 2003 doesn't it? Ainge said that he wouldn't trade Antoine Walker but also said that nobody was untradable. Sounds like the same things are being said about Paul Pierce.

Like it or not, this topic is worthy of discussion. It will get beat into the ground over the next few months but there's no more hiding from it. Regardless of where you stand on the issue (should, shouldn't, only for the right price, etc.) you have to admit, that this point in time it is more likely than ever before that Paul could be traded. If ever it was going to happen, it would seem to make sense that it would be now. I say its time to deal with the possibility. Get mentally prepared for it. If you are a big Paul fan (and I am) it will be a sad day when he leaves this organization (be it this offseason or in another 8 years). But its going to happen sooner or later.

Where there's smoke, there's fire.
Every third report in the newspapers is that Paul is available. Some of that is groupthink, some of it is writers without a story picking up on someone else's "source" and running with it. However, it starts from somewhere. I pride myself on being able to sniff out a rumor and finding its source. More than 80% of the time, its an "idea" and not a rumor - much like the LA Times article from this weekend. Still, if you trace all the Paul "ideas" back to their source, they all sprout from the same rumblings that we've heard since mid season. The Celtics don't want to trade Paul, but they are open to listening to offers. That is enough to make GMs salivate like pavlovian dogs. You don't shop a guy like Paul, you just listen to offers.

What's he worth?
Yes, I was the one that said that nobody wants Paul. That is, of course, a gross exaggeration. The point I was getting at is that few would be willing to break the bank for him. Paul is not tanking games and openly asking for a trade, so we can put his value at somewhere North of what the Raptors got for Vince. He's obviously not an otherworldly talent like Shaq, so you can put his value well short of that watermark. The rest is up to debate. I'd put Paul a few rungs down from Tracy McGrady, so should we use that as a benchmark? There's one name that starts to pop in my head when considering relative trade value - I keep thinking of Stephan Marbury - who was once traded for Jason Kidd, but later traded for cap space and picks.

The Clippers idea:
So is the Clippers idea so far off? I don't think so. To get two talented, young players and a lottery pick in return for Paul would be quite a deal, even if we had to throw in our first rounder to get it done. It would make this team extremely young, but also extremely deep and talented - with more tradable assets than you could shake a stick at.

It is possible that the best deal of all would be to keep Paul Pierce here and build around him. However, regardless of what you think of the proposed LA deal, or any trades being dreamed up on the message boards, the reality is that Paul could be dealt this offseason. Better start dealing with it.