Photo courtesy of NBA.com
BOSTON—According to a report from Sean Deveny of SportingNews.com, the Boston Celtics already have a plan in place should they decide to move forward without star captain Paul Pierce. They can either trade him or buy him out according to the report, and have until June 30, this coming Sunday to inform him either way.
If they can trade Pierce to a team that can take on his salary, they will get a trade exception worth $15.3 million, which amounts to his salary. If this happens, Boston reportedly knows what their next move will be. They have a sign-and-trade offer ready for Atlanta Hawks star Josh Smith , and that according to the report would be their main focus in free agency.
Josh Smith was connected to Boston via rumors in the past, including one that would have put Pierce in a Hawks uniform in February. In order for Boston to pull this deal off however, they need the trade exception. This is because teams over the salary cap cannot take on salaries without sending back matching salaries.
The College Park, Ga. native played in 76 games last season, averaging 17.5 points per game to go along with 8.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. He also averaged three turnovers per game. In the playoffs, he played in six contests averaging 17 points per game to go along with 7.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game while amassing3.7 turnovers per game. The 27-year old brings a lot of athleticism to the table which would help with a rebuilding team, but one knock on him is that he does not always have his head in the game. There would be many positives to acquiring him, but a fair amount of negatives as well.
In what seems to be a rebuilding offseason for the Celtics, many tough choices have been made and surely there are more to come. It will be interesting to see how everything plays out.