Mar 29, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics small forward Paul Pierce (34) and Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith (5) battle for a loose ball during the second quarter at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
The deadline to deal or buyout Paul Pierce’s contract for just about $5 million is coming up fast. The Celtics have very little time between now and the 30th to figure out what to do.
It seems that the Celtics are trying to find a team that can absorb Pierce’s full salary. If they can find such a team, they’ll get a $15.3 million trade exception back. According to Sean Deveny of The Sporting News, the Celtics are looking to use that trade exception to make a deal for Josh Smith.
In order to land Smith, though, the Celtics need to pull off a deal for Pierce that will net them a trade exception. Because teams over the salary cap can’t take on salary without sending back matching salaries, Boston’s options are limited to teams under the cap. That’s why two teams that have been connected to a Pierce deal have been Cleveland and Milwaukee.
It sounds like a long shot, but if the Celtics manage to pull off this deal it would make it clear that this team is not going to be one looking to rebuild next season. Instead, they’d be looking to put pieces around the core of Rajon Rondo and Josh Smith.
Deveny also reports that the Milwaukee Bucks are likely going to look for Josh Smith in free agency as well. They’d be able to offer him $1.5 million more than the Celtics would be able to offer him, so its likely that they aren’t willing to lend a helping hand to the C’s.
I’m not sure how I would feel about a nucleus of Rajon Rondo and Josh Smith. They’re friends from back in their Oak Hill Academy days, and Josh Smith has long been a target of the Celtics–even before this past season’s trade deadline. However, both are non-shooters who really need floor spacers around them to be effective on offense.
The Celtics would need to swing more deals, somehow, to make this roster more conducive to their best players. Right now, the way its currently built, it doesn’t look to be suitable.
However, anytime you can land a player like Josh Smith I think you should. They’d just need to add more pieces and they may be one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference.
Michael Donnell Sykes, II is an NBA writer that straddles the fine line between statistical value in basketball and eye analysis. He's written for sports blogs previously before his stop at Hardwood Houdini. He's the creator of "What's Left on the Floor" and also writes with the Sports Blog Movement and Baselinehoops.com. E mail him at [email protected] for any further questions.