Rumors are swirling around Paul Pierce's future.
UPDATE: Tuesday, June 25, at 11:17 a.m. ET by Tom Kinslow
The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Milwaukee Bucks are among the teams that have expressed trade interest in Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce, according to sources with knowledge of the talks.
But sources told ESPN.com that Pierce is most likely headed to neither one of those teams if he leaves the Celtics this week.
The Celtics do remain hopeful of acquiring a first-round pick for Pierce this week in conjunction with Thursday's draft. But sources said the Celtics have shown an inclination to try to work with Pierce to get him to a favorable destination -- which essentially translates to a contending team -- if they indeed decide to trade him by week's end. The team faces a June 30 deadline to either pick up Pierce’s $15.3 million option for next season or buy him out for $5 million.
Stein's report goes on to say that if no trade partner can be found, the Celtics are likely to pick up Pierce's option to buy more time on a decision about his future.
---End of update---
UPDATE: Monday, June 24, at 10:05 a.m. ET by Brandon Galvin
ESPN's Jackie MacMullan has the latest on Pierce in the wake of the Doc Rivers-to-Clippers deal:
Team sources confirmed Ainge also has been trying to secure a first-round pick for veteran Paul Pierce, who can be bought out by June 30 for $5 million. The Celtics have been unsuccessful thus far, leaving open the possibility they keep Pierce and his $15.3 million contract and attempt to deal him again at the trade deadline next winter, when teams historically look for veteran help and are willing to overpay.
Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski provided more insight into Pierce's situation:
The Celtics have to make a decision before June 30 if they want to buy out the remaining $15 million on Paul Pierce's contract for $5 million, but Boston is finding that scenario less and less likely, sources told Yahoo! Sports. There's been enough trade interest from contending teams who still see the 35-year-old Pierce as a plausible third offensive option, sources said.
---End of update---
The Cleveland Cavaliers clearly paid close attention to the talks between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers over the past week or so.
Seeing that the C’s were preparing to blow things up and embark on a full-scale rebuilding effort, the Cavs are rumored to have offered two second-round selections for Paul Pierce, according to Bob Finnan of The News-Herald.
Celtics general manager Danny Ainge is no stranger to sitting at the bargaining table and may see the merit in letting the franchise’s second-leading scorer go in exchange for relatively useless assets.
Pierce is owed over $15 million for the upcoming campaign, a price that is simply too rich for a team that may not be contending in 2013-14.
Sources confirmed on Sunday that the Clippers will sign Rivers to a three-year, $21 million contract. They will send a 2015 first-round pick as compensation to the Celtics, who have agreed to release the coach from the three years, $21 million he has remaining on his deal with the club.
... League and teams sources also confirmed that for now, any deal involving Garnett and the Clippers is on hold in light of commissioner David Stern's objections to the appearance that the KG deal (for DeAndre Jordan) and Rivers were related.
One source with knowledge of the NBA's thinking told ESPN.com that the league does not intend to change its stance as expressed by Stern in multiple radio interviews Thursday, meaning that the league would view any subsequent trade agreement between the Celtics and Clippers involving Garnett to be part of the Rivers deal and thus in violation of league rules.
KG may elect to retire—an option he heavily considered last summer before deciding to return on a three-year contract extension.
There’s also the chance that Ainge and the key pieces of this current Boston squad decide to give it one more go next season. If that happens, it would certainly take a better offer to pry The Truth from Beantown—the club that drafted him No. 10 overall in 1998.
Regardless, it’s an interesting move by Cleveland GM Chris Grant to make an offer on a player that could be bought out for $5 million prior to June 30.
Pierce, along with the team’s two first-rounders in the upcoming 2013 draft, would clearly make the Cavs a contender in the Eastern Conference.
The former Kansas star would add a veteran presence to a team that includes young stars like Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters.
Expect to hear plenty more on this front over the next few days, as the 2013 draft is just around the corner and the buzz surrounding a number of potential transactions is starting to heat up.