How bout Paul Pierce?
First: NO. I’m not suggesting using the #1 pick on Paul Pierce.
But operating on the idea that the Cavs want to be in the playoffs next year, the door is opened to finding a vet who can come in a contribute in meaningful way while KI, TT, Dion, Ellington, Gee, Zeller, and Player X continue to develop. It seems to me that adding a rookie and AV to the current base of young talent does not smell like a playoff team.
Sidebar: I understand that ‘best player available’ people disagree here and to the BPA argument I come back to this: what if the BPA is a point guard? Do you really take him #1 overall to sit behind KI? Even acknowledging that drafting KJ when Mark Price was on the roster worked out (through the Nance trade), I think that was an anomaly. Look to Terrell Brandon (Shawn Kemp) and Andre Miller (Darius Miles) as equally probable outcomes when you draft to acquire trade assets.
Anyway, if we assume a center and look at the roster, I grade it:
- Center = good: Player X + Zeller;
- Power forward = good: TT + AV;
- Small forward = problem: Gee + Miles;
- Shooting guard = good: Dion + Ellington;
- Point guard = thin: KI + Livingston.
So to me: a small forward pick-up makes sense.
How did I come up with Paul Pierce?
I really don’t know what prompted me to think of Pierce in response to some good old fashioned Wade bashing. But I did (see right) and the more I think about the idea of Pierce, the more I like it.
Never been a Pierce fan until lately.
Historically that is. For probably the first ten years he played for the Celts, I thought his opinion of himself was too high. He thought of himself in the LeBron, Kobe class or at least worthy of being in the Carmelo, Wade conversations. But I never saw it.
Sure his numbers were good,,, damn good actually. Looking at the last three years, production is still high.
But come on Paul,, you’re not in LeBron’s class. And yet he willed himself there as Dwyane Wade testifies:
“[Pierce] is the closest thing to a rival, if LeBron has one,” Wade said. “They make it tough on each other.”
Even with testimony like that, I wasn’t sold. I thought Pierce played soft. I thought he talked too much trash. I thought he was a prototype “I want my touches” player. And too much clubbing.
Sometime in the last five years a switch flipped for me with Pierce on all these charges. I’ve done complete 180 on him.
I now think he’s a warrior-baller and respect his game and heart as much as anyone in the league.
Clubbing? Has started 1100 NBA games; club your ass off all you want.
And in the top 5 of guys I want with the ball for a final shot. Because you know what: the guy with the confidence to chirp at LeBron has the kind of confidence you want at crunch time.
In short: I peg Paul Pierce as a winner.
More than any positional players, winners are what’s needed for the Cavs to take the next step.
Can he be got?
I looked at the ESPN trade machine and there are no deals that work with Pierce’s contract ($17M through 2014) as it is. But then I stumbled on a Finnan rumor from last week:
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, 5/26
Hey I agree with you Bob. And it should be do-able. Disagree on the contender part. Sure Pierce might like to go to Spurs or Thunder or Bulls but they can give the Celtics a package like the Cavs can. And who’s to say Cavs aren’t contenders in 2015?
The Celtics need to re-tool. Ray Allen walked and the Celts got nothing. Obviously Garnett’s age is telling on him. Pierce is 35. It’s time for the Celtics to get young. Pierce could be got for draft picks.
I doubt the Celts would go for 19th and 31st. If they would, done deal. The more likely scene is that one where the Cavs swap their second-round picks for Dallas’ 13th.
How would you all feel about sending the 13th overall to Boston for Pierce?
I think I’m good with this. (Obviously assuming an extended and team-friendly contract.) Adding Pierce makes the Cavs playoff ready in 2014 without screwing up the cap for a big free-agent push *ahem* *#6* next summer.
What say you?
UPDATE, 6/17: Bill Simmons thinks 19 + 31 would get Pierce to the Cavs.