Yesterday, things seemed so simple with Paul Pierce's free agency. Either Pierce could stay in Washington, get a nice pay raise and make a run with the team he did so much for last season, or he could reunite with Doc Rivers in L.A. and chase a ring with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Basically, all Pierce had to do was decide whether or not an opportunity with the Clippers was worth leaving $3 million on the table. Now, it's not so simple.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski, Paul Pierce's old team, the Boston Celtics is trying to recruit Pierce to be part of a new core in Boston alongside Robin Lopez and Kevin Love, who just announced he is opting out of the final year of his contract. Boston's plan here is flimsy on a number of levels. Let's try to list some of them out:
- Odds are, Kevin Love stays in Cleveland. Like Pierce, Love can maximize his earnings by opting-out and signing a one year deal with his current team.
- Call us crazy, but a Wall-Beal-Gortat trio sounds a lot closer to title contention than a Love-Lopez-Thomas trio. Again, maybe we're crazy.
- Again, just to reiterate: HAHAHAHA
While we're sure the idea of returning to Boston sounds intriguing to Pierce if Boston's plan works, the more interesting note from Wojnarowski came in a follow-up tweet:
Sources: Clips offering bench guys to gain trade exception to pay Pierce, but If Celts could get Love - Pierce is in play for Boston return.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 24, 2015
Allow us to translate: The Clippers are trying to trade Jamal Crawford to pay Paul Pierce.
Since the Clippers are paying the luxury tax, the most they could offer Pierce at the moment is the taxpayers' mid-level exception, worth under $4 million. However, if they could trade Jamal Crawford (who is set to make $5,675,000 next season) to a team with cap room, they could get a trade exception for Crawford's salary. They could then use that trade exception to sign Pierce. If the Clippers can unload Crawford, the gap between what the Wizards and Clippers can offer goes from $3 million to under than a million, which would be a much easier pay cut for Pierce to swallow.
The good news is, the Clippers can't use a first round pick as bait since they've already traded their 2015 and 2017 first round picks, and by rule, the Clippers can't trade away successive future first round picks, so they can't use their 2016 or 2018 picks to sweeten, unless they can convince a team that the "right to swap picks" is worth taking on Crawford's salary for a year. It may be a tough sell for the Clippers, but certainly one worth watching in the coming weeks.