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Cleveland Cavaliers Could Be After Unlikely Target

June 22nd, 2013 at 2:16 PM
By Pat Murphy

There has been a lot of talk surrounding the Cleveland Cavaliers and what they should do with their draft pick. Most of that talk has focused on the number-one overall pick the Cavaliers acquired in the NBA Draft lottery, but there are rumors in the last 24 hours that they could be looking to move a couple of their other picks.

'Paul Pierce' photo (c) 2008, Keith Allison - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ According to reports, Cleveland may attempt to send picks 31 and 33 to the Boston Celtics for veteran Paul Pierce. This may come as a surprise as Pierce's name has been included in another, more publicized, trade with the Los Angeles Clippers. ESPN and other outlets have been reporting that there have been on and off talks between the Clippers and the Celtics about sending Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and head coach Doc Rivers to L.A.

While there have been many different reports on how this trade will actually work, it seems – after multiple conversations – that the trade is off, for now. 

What this has told the rest of the league is that the Celtics are looking to finish the end of the "Big Three" era that started last year with the departure of Ray Allen to the Miami Heat. Boston would like to get younger and more athletic and acquiring two draft picks from the Cavaliers would be a step in the right direction.

The question is, would it make sense for Cleveland to pick up Pierce, a player who has tormented them throughout his 15-year career? The Cavaliers have been looking for an upgrade at small forward since the departure of LeBron James. Depending what direction they elect to go with their first pick, this trade may make some sense.

Pierce has one year remaining on his contract worth $15.3 million. Cleveland has significant cap space and would only have Pierce's contract for the 2013-14 season. This would still potentially allow them to go after one of the big free agents next summer.

Last season, Pierce played in and started 77 games, averaging 18.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game. He shot 44% 'Paul Pierce' photo (c) 2008, Keith Allison - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ from the field and 38% from three-point range. By comparison, Alonzo Gee averaged 10.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.6 assists while shooting 41% from the field and 31.5% from behind the arc.

While Pierce is in the twilight of his career for certain, he still would likely give Cleveland more than they have had recently at the small forward spot and only be on their books for one year. Unless they are looking to draft a small forward with the top pick, this is also likely a better value than they could find with either the 31st or 33rd selections.

If this is something the Cavaliers are actually looking to do, they will likely have some competition. Beside the rumors of the Clipper trade, there have been others reportedly interested in making a deal with the Celtics that would include Pierce. These include the New Orleans Pelicans, the Oklahoma City Thunder, and even the defending champions Heat.

It will be interesting to see if the Cavaliers can pull something like this off, as Pierce would bring some more star power to Cleveland and would likely help a young team make a push towards the playoffs.

Tags: Basketball, Boston Celtics, Cleveland, Cleveland Cavaliers, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, NBA, New Orleans Pelicans, Oklahoma City Thunder, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen

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