BOSTON (CBS) – Should the Boston Celtics trade Paul Pierce and receive a trade exception in return, they already have a sign-and-trade package ready to offer the Atlanta Hawks for free agent forward Josh Smith — according to The Sporting News.
The Celtics have until June 30 to decide if they want to pick up Pierce’s option, buy him out for $5 million, or trade him. Since the Celtics are already over the salary cap, they would need to acquire a trade exception in any trade of Pierce in order to pull off a sign-and-trade for Smith.
The Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks are reportedly two of the teams interested in acquiring Pierce, but the 15-year veteran would prefer to play for a contender.
Smith has been connected to the Celtics in the past, as he was high school teammates with point guard Rajon Rondo. A reunion of the two could pay off big for the Celtics, though with both of their volatile personalities, it could also backfire.
The 27-year-old Smith was drafted 17th overall by Atlanta in 2004, and has averaged 15.3 points and 8.0 rebounds per game over his career. He set career-highs in 2011-12, averaging 18.8 points and 9.6 rebounds, but is a very streaky shooter and has had some issues on the court during his time in Atlanta.
But acquiring Smith would give Boston another young potential star to build around, as the franchise enters a rebuilding phase.