Celtics Reportedly Willing to Listen to Trade Offers for Paul Pierce

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 11, 2013

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 4:  Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics reacts after making a shot against the Indiana Pacers during the game on January 4, 2013 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
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With the Boston Celtics languishing in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, there has been increased clamoring for general manager Danny Ainge to make a roster move. Well, according to CBS Sports' Ken Berger, that roster change may come in the form of shipping Celtics star Paul Pierce out of Boston:

Team executives involved in exploratory trade talks report that the Knicks (Amar'e Stoudemire), Lakers (Pau Gasol), Raptors (Bargnani) and Celtics (Paul Pierce) are open to discussing their high-profile names. 

As many who follow the Celtics know, this is not the first time the Celtics have considered trading Pierce. Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reported last April that Ainge nearly sent his All-Star forward to the then-New Jersey Nets at last season's trade deadline before deciding to keep the Big Three together for another playoff run.

Ainge's hesitance to pull the trigger ultimately paid off, as Boston took the eventual champion Miami Heat to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals before falling short.

Despite the Celtics rewarding Ainge's faith a year ago, the situation looks far more dire this time around. Boston is just 18-17 on the season heading into Friday's game against the Houston Rockets and would have a rematch against those Heat in the first round if the season ended today.

The Celtics' struggles have been especially evident on the offensive end, where they rank 21st in the NBA with a paltry 95.2 points per game.

It's almost undeniable that Pierce's descent from an every-night scoring threat is partially responsible for those woes. Though Pierce is averaging a very solid 19.5 points per game, he's had increasing stretches where his 35-year-old body is unable to take over contests in the same way it once did.

Nevertheless, he's still a valued commodity that just about any locker room would welcome. Pierce has championship experience, has been an unquestioned leader throughout his time in Boston and has a penchant for stepping up in big moments.

If Ainge ultimately decides to set the detonator on the current 2012-13 Celtics, don't expect Pierce to last long on the trade market.