As we have discussed in a few articles in the past week, check out our Cavaliers page, the Cavs are and will continue to be the center of many rumors. With the #1 overall pick, as well as 3 other picks in the top 33, player assets as well as gobs of cap space the team is uniquely positioned to own the off-season rumor mill. Last night’s rumor, Paul Pierce for the Cavs 2 second round picks, both makes sense and doesn’t make sense, at the same time, for all parties involved. Each may be able to convince themselves this is a good move, or talk themselves out of the move just as quickly. Let us examine it from both teams’ as well as the player’s perspective.
The Celtics are obviously look to tear down and rebuild this team that has been centered on Pierce and Kevin Garnett for the past few years. The continued efforts to trade KG and Doc Rivers to the Clippers seem to change like the weather in Ohio. Until Rivers is coaching the Celtics or the Clippers hire a coach the saga is not closed. If they do make the trade with the Clippers, Pierce then becomes a movable asset. If they don’t make that trade Pierce will return if KG returns. Assuming the trade goes through, or KG retires, the Celtics have 2 moves with Pierce: Trade or Release. They can release Pierce and just pay him the $5 million they owe him. They could trade Pierce and his 15.3 million dollar contract and clear that off their cap. Two high second round picks might not seem like much, but to find a team willing to trade for that contract might be difficult. Those two picks in this deep draft may be a positive start to a rebuilding team. Winner. The Celtics will be trading their transcendent player from the past decade, and not to the team he probably wants to play for, and could alienate their fans for 2 second round picks. Loser.
The Cavs would be picking up a playoff veteran to add to their young core. The Cavs seem to be looking into all their options with their picks as bringing 4 rookies in with such a young roster may not be beneficial. The Celtics may be planning to release Pierce, but highly unlikely he would choose to sign with the Cavs, so a trade is necessary. Pierce would be able to bring a winning mentality and work ethic as well as an ability to create his own shot. Pierce’s “old man game” which includes a great mid-range game would be an interesting fit with Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters slashing styles. Winner. Pierce would probably not be happy at first being traded to a young team only hoping to make the playoffs, with no real championship hopes. Pierce also does not have proven 3 point range, though he has history of hitting big shots in the playoffs that include 3 pointers. His Celtics history has been as a relatively ball dominant player which would possibly get in the way of Waiters and Irving. Trading 2 young players for a player who doesn’t fit on the floor perfectly isn’t optimal. Loser.
Pierce has spent much of the last few years contending with the Celtics, after years of struggling as the lone star on his team prior to the arrival of KG and Ray Allen. At this point in his career Pierce is not a centerpiece player, instead is a steady veteran that could buoy the hopes of a title contender or a young team hoping for the playoffs. Being traded to the Cavs means he would get his full contract value, instead of being bought out and signing a smaller contract somewhere else. Pierce would start for the Cavs and show his value to teams for 2014 as a free agent, as well as get deferential treatment from the young players around him. Pierce’s statistics would be comparable or better than last years. Winner. At this stage in his career Pierce is most likely to be looking for a place to compete for another championship and the Cavaliers are at least a few years away from that. Rumors over the past few months of Pierce being bought out, and signing with the Clippers to rejoin Rivers and Garnett, should of excited him. Added to this excitement is that Pierce is from LA and would be able to finish his career in his hometown, with great weather and off the court opportunities that are not accessible in Cleveland. Loser.