Celtics want to make a run at Josh Smith… if they can move Paul Pierce
As Doc Rivers departs Boston for the sunny land of Los Angeles, the Celtics are left in a complete grey area. Do they keep their core that was ousted in the first round of the playoffs this year by the New York Knicks, or do they start the rebuilding process as soon as possible? All signs point to the latter, and the latest reports out of Boston suggest no different. According to SportingNews.com, the Celtics are ready to pull the trigger on a sign-and-trade deal that will net them Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith, longtime friend and high school teammate of current Celtic Rajon Rondo.
However, the Celtics face a serious hurdle in this task; the only way they can acquire Smith from the Hawks would be to trade Paul Pierce to a team under the salary cap. By trading Pierce to a team under the cap, the Celtics would be granted a trade exception for Pierce’s salary, which is approximately $15.3 million dollars, giving them adequate space to take on Smith. Here are some additional details from the SportingNews report:
If the Celtics can unload Pierce to a team with enough cap space to absorb his salary, they will get a trade exception worth Pierce’s salary, or $15.3 million. And if that happens, the plan is already in place. According to a source, the Celtics have a sign-and-trade offer ready for Atlanta forward Josh Smith that would be the top priority in free agency.
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.
As the report goes on to say, the difficulty in moving Pierce would be for the team acquiring him. Pierce has made it known that he wants to contend for a championship, and a team like Cleveland or Milwaukee, who clearly are not in the contender category, may be reluctant to take on a disgruntled Pierce late in his career. If Pierce could get over his reservations of joining a non-contender, the Celtics would have no problem moving him. He would be a great fit with the Cavaliers, as a mentor for Kyrie Irving, while immediately filling a huge need for the team.
As for the Celtics, Josh Smith and Rajon Rondo, along with a new head coach, would give the team an immediate change in philosophy. For one, those two guys are going to want to get up and down the floor, as opposed to the current team, which obviously likes to slow it down with their older legs.
The obvious next piece to the puzzle would be to figure out what to do with Kevin Garnett, who would obviously be the odd-man out if both Pierce and Rivers have been shipped off elsewhere. Does Garnett call it a career? Possibly, especially if the suitors for his services are the aforementioned “non-contenders.”
One thing is certain; the Celtics that open the 2013-2014 season will probably be drastically different than the team the city has grown to love over the past few years.
By: Frank Santos- Pass the Pill Manager