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BOSTON (CBS) – With the Boston Celtics suffering their longest losing streak of the current Big 3 era, and sitting at 4-8, rumors are swirling that Paul Pierce could be heading out of Boston.
CSNNE’s Gary Tanguay joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich on Wednesday, and is confident the Celtics captain will not be here when the March 1 trade deadline hits.
“I stick by what I said; I do believe it,” Tanguay said of his prediction. “I think that, look it’s as simple as this; Danny Ainge has said he is not going to allow this team to grow old.”
“Many people felt they should have blown up the Big 3 two years ago; I disagree,” he said. “I think the time is now. I think when they almost won the championship in 2010, and in the fourth quarter they were up by 13 and couldn’t hold on to the lead, that kind of messed everything up. Internally they were ready to move on after that season, but when they got so close, everything changed. They said, ‘wait a minute, maybe we should keep everyone together for one more year.’ Then the Perk trade came and it didn’t work out, and Shaq got hurt.”
Pierce has two more years on his contract, and other than Rajon Rondo, is one of the only trade chips Ainge has in his pocket. A 13-year veteran, Pierce has led the Celtics in scoring for the last decade, and will likely draw some attention from contending teams throughout the NBA.
“There is no question, Danny is going to be taking phone calls and taking offers for everybody. Everybody, including Pierce,” said Tanguay. “If you think about it, right now Paul’s value is at its peak. If he waits, Paul’s value is going to go down. This is what has to be done because it’s so hard to rebuild in the NBA.”
Pierce missed the start of the season with a heel injury, and has just started to find his groove. He scored a season-high 24 points in Boston’s 97-88 loss to the Thunder on Monday, and is averaging nearly 20 points over his last three games.
But what can the Celtics get for Pierce? While he may be able to bring back a few chips that will benefit the future, it’s unlikely he will get anything that helps the team this season, or even the next few years.
“You’re not going to get anything in return that is going to make the Celtics a contender right away. The only way the Celtics are a contender right away is if Dwight Howard is a free agent on the end of the season and Doc Rivers can sell him on Boston. And that’s not going to happen.”
The Los Angeles Clippers are one possible landing spot for Pierce, a California native. With Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, the Clippers have a young core that could use a veteran’s presence. They also have young pieces that the Celtics could find intriguing (DeAndre Jordan anyone?) to use as they get ready to build for the future.
With the Celtics currently stalled in the present, if Ainge can find a deal that will help them build for the future, the time is right to deal the captain.