Wojnarowski: Paul Pierce for Josh Smith was “perhaps closest Pierce had come to parting with Celtics”
We knew that Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were both in danger of being traded at the deadline this season, but according to Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who is usually right about such things, the deal may have been as close as Pierce has come to leaving the Celtics in his career.
Before the trade deadline passed, the Boston Celtics had one final choice to make on the franchise’s future: In a three-way deal that would’ve secured Josh Smith and surrendered Paul Pierce to Dallas, Atlanta wanted Boston’s first-round draft pick, too.
As much as any of the proposed deals discussed in February, perhaps this had been the closest Pierce had come to parting with the Celtics, sources told Yahoo! Sports.
Dallas had constructed a package that included Jae Crowder, Brandan Wright and Dahntay Jones to Atlanta, with the Mavericks and Hawks exchanging positions in the 2013 NBA draft.
Nevertheless, Boston wouldn’t relent on the pick and the deal died on meeting-room grease boards in three cities.
In retrospect, it’s probably a good thing that the Celtics held out. Acquiring Smith, best case scenario, gets the Celtics back to where they are right now: middling darkhorse playoff contenders, but not on anyone’s radar as championship favorites. That kind of deal isn’t worth giving up one of the most important players in franchise history, especially with the team making a push as we enter the last stretch of the season. What’s more: Smith is a free agent after this season and will almost certainly command a max contract from someone. Committing that kind of money to a player like Smith is risky at best.
This kind of news doesn’t mean much in the long run since nothing happened, but it does show us two interesting things: 1) First round draft picks hold a ton of value for teams, perhaps Boston in particular. The Celtics were willing to trade Pierce for Smith, but it was a mid-first round draft pick that held up Boston. That’s probably what happens when a team drafts Rajon Rondo in the middle of the first round. 2) The Celtics value their recent success as much as we do. They may not be championship favorites, but they are winning quite a bit. And that’s clearly worth something.
Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.