NBA AM: Would The Celtics Trade Paul Pierce?
Where Does Boston Go?: Celtic’s coach Doc Rivers said recently that major changes would be coming if things did not improve.
It not a huge secret that Celtics president Danny Ainge and his staff have been kicking the tires on their options for most of the past month. The Celtics have always been aggressive about shopping the marketplace, but despite rampant speculation that Boston might move one of its core pieces like say a Paul Pierce, Celtics sources say that unless it returned a bona fide All-Star of Pierce’s stature in return moving him was not in the cards.
Pierce is an attractive trade chip because only $5 million of his $15.55 million owed next year is guaranteed. The problem is the Celtics might want to keep that option for themselves rather than deal Pierce away.
The Celtic chips most teams are talking about are guards Courtney Lee ($5 million), forward Jeff Green ($8.35 million) and forward Brandon Bass ($6 million). None of them are overly impressive in a trade on their own; however, any combination of them could get a salary high enough for a more significant deal. The problem is the reason the Celtics want to move them is they have been underwhelming this season and that’s really driven down their trade value.
The best chip for the Celtics to move is likely Pierce, however, as one Celtics source pointed out – how bad do the Celtics look without Pierce and can he really return a player or group of players that can turn this ho-hum Celtic season around?
Boston would like to make a deal. Their posture in the marketplace indicates they are open for business. The problem is they don’t have the parts a lot of teams are looking for.
We are at the half way point for the HOOPSWORLD Pick’em Game, and there is one front runner with three weekly wins. Six players have two weekly wins, so the season-long contest is still wide open. Three strong weeks and you could be in first place. Weekly winners get an adidas HOOPSWORLD T-Shirt and the season-long winner gets a shot at an iPad or Apple Store gift card. It is completely free to play and takes just a few seconds to get started. Week 13 is ready to go, so log your picks here.
Xavier Silas Still Trying: The Philadelphia 76ers brought Xavier Silas on to the roster last year and kept him with the team through their playoff run. Silas was supposed to be a project player for the 76ers but a freak accident during the Orlando Summer League set Silas back and forced him out of the 76ers plans after having several frontal sinus fractures fused.
Silas spoke with HOOPSWORLD recently and says he’s using the D-League to polish his point guard skills and hopes to get back into the NBA soon.
Lakers Bench Gasol: Laker coach Mike D’Antoni announced before yesterday’s game that he would be benching Pau Gasol, and bringing the career starter off the bench and replacing him with Earl Clark in the starting lineup.
Gasol played 25 minutes in the Lakers 83-95 loss to the Bulls while collecting 15 points on 6-for-14 shooting and grabbing 12 rebounds, arguably Gasol’s most convincing showing of the D’Antoni era. The problem is the Lakers still lost.
With last night’s loss the Lakers find themselves one game ahead of the Sacramento Kings in the standings and five games back from the eighth seeded Houston Rockets. As the Lakers 2012-13 season is slowly slipping away from them, they have just 41 games remaining on the schedule. The Lakers would need to go 24-17 (.585) the rest of the way to get to the expected 42 wins currently needed for the eighth seed in the West. In previous years the magic number for the eighth seed has been closer to 48 games so a second half surge by Houston could up the ante.
As the Lakers struggles continue there is more and more emphasis being placed on the idea of a trade, specifically involving Gasol and his $19 million salary.
There is no shortage of trade scenarios, and actually there are teams that would take Gasol and his remaining two contract years off the Lakers’ hands, the problem is no one is looking to do the Lakers any favors and no one is looking to eat Laker contract dollars if they are not sending back some of their own.
Virtually every viable scenario on the table has the Lakers taking back contracts that are equally unfavorable or worse yet a radical downgrade in talent and as bad as its been the Lakers are not ready to give away Gasol unless it bring back something that helps them improve.
The Lakers continue to field calls and talk possibilities, but there just doesn’t seem to be anything out there that the Lakers would do.
There has been speculation that moving Dwight Howard in trade might yield the biggest change, but Laker sources continue to say that dealing Howard is not an option they are open to considering.
The Lakers have been linked to Minnesota’s Dante Cunningham, although sources close to that situation say there isn’t much going on and that Cunningham was one of many situations the Lakers checked in on.
Wizards Kicking The Tires: The Washington Wizards are 9-30 on the season. They would have to go 32-11 (.744) in their remaining 43 games to reach the eighth seed in the East, so it’s safe to say that even with half a season to play the Wizards season is almost toast and it’s not even February yet.
That’s doesn’t mean Washington isn’t looking to shake some things up. Sources close to the process peg the Wizards as a front runner in the ongoing Rudy Gay talks with Memphis and that they do have several other situations they are involved in. The Wizards are not sending out rookie Bradley Beal as some have reported, but they do have several pieces that are moveable and attractive.
Martell Webster is one of the lone ending contracts the Wizards have, although both Trevor Ariza (player options) and Emeka Okafor (early termination option) could opt for free agency. Webster is not a high dollar player earning $1.75 million this season.
More than a few league sources peg Jordan Crawford as the chip that is drawing the most interest in return from the Wizards. Crawford is an impact scorer from the bench in the mold of a Jason Terry or Jamal Crawford. He also doesn’t earn much by NBA standards, scheduled to earn just $1.19 million this season.
Webster and Crawford combined with say Trevor Ariza creates an outgoing trade package worth $10.20 million. Not quite enough to land Gay outright without a third team getting involved, but enough outgoing salary to make a move or two as the trade deadline approaches.
If the season ended today the Wizards would have the worst record in the NBA and a shot at the top overall pick, which could be an interesting trade chip if they opted to part with it.
Scare Tactics: According to USA Today’s Sam Amick, California Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg is turning the Sacramento Kings potential sale to a group planning to move the team to Seattle into a political fight.
Investment fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer have an agreement to purchase the Sacramento Kings with the intent to move the team to Seattle as soon as next year.
In response, Steinberg fired off a letter to Fred Klass the director of the California Department of General Services, hinting that he may go after some of California’s Microsoft business if the Kings are indeed relocated.
“I am troubled that a company and a CEO that has for so long enjoyed a prosperous and beneficial working relationship with the State of California and its taxpayers would blatantly engage in activities which are clearly and measurably detrimental to our State’s job and revenue base.”
Steinberg further requested a detailed accounting of how much money California spends with Microsoft.
- How many technology contracts and at what total cost to state taxpayers does Microsoft Corporation currently have with the State of California?
- In total dollars, how much has the State of California paid Microsoft Corporation for its products and services over the last 10 years?
- Can you send my office terms of contracts and representations made by Microsoft Corporation regarding their contracts with the State?
-To your knowledge, does any other state in the United States pay more annually to Microsoft Corporation for products and services than the State of California?
- What is Microsoft Corporation’s record of performance with the State of California?
Steinberg was clear in his letter to Klass that he didn’t have a “direct role in the day-to-day management of the State’s technology procurement processes”, but that he was not going to sit idle while Ballmer and Hansen try and take the Kings out of Sacramento.
Steinberg’s involvement is likely to have no material impact on the sale process of the Kings, but it is funny how these things become reactive. Had California/Sacramento delivered a state-of-the-art arena, the Kings would be in their third or fourth year of a 30-year lease and not packing boxes for Seattle. Not sure how that Microsoft’s fault, but if Steinberg wants to penalize them for it, you have wonder how long the DMV will run without Windows updates?
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