Apr 13, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Boston Celtics small forward Paul Pierce (34) during the first quarter at the Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The future of Paul Pierce as a Boston Celtic has come into question during the past few seasons, but none more than this year. It seems all but certain that Pierce will not be in a Celtics uniform next season.
With Pierce’s contract coming at $15.5 million next season, it wouldn’t be wise for the Celtics to keep that figure with the way his production has fallen.
Pierce seems to be positive that he’s going to have to move on next season–he’s already preparing to relocate according to various Celtics’ sources.
Today, an unlikely source reports that Paul Pierce will likely be bought out by the Boston Celtics and not traded. Bob Finnan, a Cleveland Cavaliers insider for the News-Herald, reported the news today.
"Sources indicate Celtics director of basketball operations Danny Ainge will likely buy out forward Paul Pierce’s $15 million contract for next year ($5 million is guaranteed). If that happens, Grant should be first in line to try to acquire Pierce’s services. However, before anyone gets too giddy, Pierce will likely want to go to a serious contender. -Bob Finnan"
We can only take that with a grain of salt coming from a Cavaliers reporter–still, we have to be aware of it. It doesn’t seem like the Celtics want Paul Pierce back so this could very well be the possible out.
However, just last week it was reported by Michael McNamara of the Bourbon Street Shots blog on ESPN’s Truehoop network reported that the Celtics and the New Orleans Pelicans were discussing an Eric Gordon and Paul Pierce trade.
With that in mind, it has to be assumed that the Celtics are willing to buy Pierce’s contract out, but they would prefer to move him for something. After all, Pierce still does have value in this league. He is an expiring contract that won’t damage a non-contending team’s cap for the summer of 2014.
Pierce can also go to a contending team that is willing to spend money to win right now a la the Los Angeles Clippers or Memphis Grizzlies.
However, the talk that the Celtics are willing to buy his contract out diminishes Pierce’s trade value immensely. Since the team is willing to buy Pierce out, teams are going to wait until he hits the waiver wire to put a claim on him. The only incentive that a team would have to deal for Pierce is because they fear someone will lay a claim on him before they can.
This is a very difficult thing for most Celtics fans to go through. Breaking away from a great player and effectively ending an era in a team’s history is not an easy thing to do. Lets just hope that the Celtics and Pierce make this as civil as possible, no matter what happens.