The chance of the Los Angeles Clippers acquiring Paul Pierce outright is slim-to-none, but with a sign-and-trade between the Clippers and Brooklyn Nets possibly in the works, the Los Angeles native could find himself at home for the 2014-15 season.
The Los Angeles Clippers have engaged in conversations with the Brooklyn Nets to try to construct a sign-and-trade that would reunite small forward Paul Pierce with Doc Rivers, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.
Rivers, the Clippers’ president and coach, has had several conversations with Pierce since he became a free agent July 1.
Based on the current contracts handed out in free agency, Pierce could well demand $6 million-plus per year, a number just above the non-tax payers mid-level exception. Unfortunately, the Clippers don’t have that mid-level exception at their disposal, instead having the tax payer mid-level which is worth $3.278 this season. Unless Pierce agreed to take a huge pay cut, it would be impossible for LA to afford the small forward, hence the sign-and-trade talks with Brooklyn.
The possible package that could unite Paul Pierce with former head coach in Doc Rivers? Ramona Shelburne and Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN reports Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes, Jared Dudley, and Reggie Bullock have all been mentioned as trade pieces.
As you may recall, Reggie Bullock was looked at as “untouchable” last season during trade talks that revolved around Iman Shumpert and Darren Collision. The Clippers wouldn’t budge on including the then-rookie into the trade package causing the trade to fall apart at the deadline as the Clippers and Knicks failed to find common ground. Now, the presence of C.J. Wilcox–the Clips’ lone 2014 NBA Draft pick–has made Bullock expendable.
One possibility for the Nets: if Garnett and Pierce really want to stick together, Pierce could work out a smaller deal for a little under $6 million, and the two sides could work out a trade of both Garnett and a signed-and-traded Pierce for Dudley, Barnes, Bullock, and the talented but maddening Jamal Crawford.
At this point in his career, Paul Pierce is an extremely flawed player whose game has diminished due to age. He’s better at power forward than he is small forward, he’s slowed down, putting a dent in his ability to defend wings, and his ability to create on offense has dropped a notch. Even with all of those issues, Pierce would still be the best player at small forward on the Clippers and a solid fit into the rotation.
Last season with the Brooklyn Nets, Pierce averaged a career-low 13.5 points on 45% shooting, 37% from three, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game.