clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Why We Won’t Trade Paul Pierce

New, comments

“Shouldn’t the Celtics trade Pierce and build around Jefferson and the rest of the youth?”

paul3.jpg This is the logical question a lot of sensible people will bring up over the next couple of weeks (or months). I have the same question in my mind. In fact, I’ll add to it that there is a distinct possibility that Paul Pierce may now ask for a trade. For all we know he could have called Danny from that beach he was supposed to be laying on right about now. (though he'd probably wait till he sees what else can be done via trades)

However, as I turn the issue over in my mind, I keep coming to the same conclusion. Paul Pierce isn’t going anywhere.

Sure, he’s been the good soldier. The guy who seems to “get” what being a Celtic is about. He’s the owner’s favorite, the fan favorite, and the only guy left that has sniffed any kind of playoff success. He's the face of the franchise.  But those reasons are much more important to you or I than they are to Wyc and Danny.

Wyc wants to win now. He knows that the fans gave him a free pass this year because we knew we had the lottery to bank on. No more.  He should also know that his marketing gimmicks have just about reached the limits of their usefulness if the team can’t start winning. He’s also probably pretty tired of being the owner of a basketball team that can’t win games. Team owners don’t get into this for the money. They are mostly just really big fans with a huge bankroll and a large need to play with their favorite toy.

Danny wants to win now too. He too got a free pass this year because everyone blamed the team’s woes on Doc Rivers. We all love the kids because we see them growing up before our very eyes and we see great things in store for them. So if they don’t produce, it must be the coach screwing things up. “Not so,” says Ainge. He’s telling us that the coach is fine, it is the players that need to produce. His hand picked players. So now we know that Ainge has picked the players and tied his fortunes to the coach. Bottom line: this is all on Danny from now on. He can’t afford to tear up the team for a 3rd time. He has to win now.

{styleboxjp width=300px,float=right,color=black,textcolor=white,echo=yes}Notice how none of the reasons I’ve stated so far actually have anything to do with what is the smartest decision for the long term of the team.{/styleboxjp} It is possible that the best thing for everyone to do would be to cash in on Pierce’s trade value while it is still as high as it is, and build for the future once again. But I don’t think that will even be considered.  In fact, Danny Ainge has said as much already, calling Jefferson and Pierce "untouchables."

Personally, I’m ok with that, ...for now. Moving Pierce now wouldn’t break my heart now (as it would have in the past).  But practically speaking, I still don’t think the time is ideal to move him. Consider that this offseason there are a ton of big name players on the market. As I’ve said in the past, we should be buying, not selling. As long as we don’t deal away the key pieces of our youth we should still be able to dangle Pierce in the future. There’s always next year’s trade deadline or next offseason when we might have a better idea of what we have here and when there might be more buyers on the market.

Even if you were content to trade Pierce, you have to ask the logical question: “What could we get for him?” Last year maybe (just maybe) we could have gotten Deng, Gordon, and cap space for Pierce. Not anymore. Only contending teams would want him and those teams don’t exactly have a lot to offer. Do you want anything the Heat, Cavs, or Pistons would be willing to give up? Sure, the Celts could get blown away with a sweetheart deal (Dallas?).  But don't count on it.  I just don't see it happening.

So the team will go forward with a core of Pierce, Jefferson, Rondo, and whatever they can get for everyone else on the team. If it works out, Ainge and company will be able to smile smugly and say that it was their plan all along. If it doesn’t, expect Wyc to make some major changes in the front office by this time next year.