Tuesday, January 10, 2006


It's Paul over now

Others have already commented on this, but hearing Paul Pierce demonstrate his “team leadership” by telling the media in essence that he wouldn’t mind being traded, shortly after his team suffered a close loss against the Mavericks, has got to be the lowest of the lowlights we’ve witnessed during this grisly season. This one moment embodied everything we’ve come to anticipate from Pierce, everything we kicked under the rug this season because he’d been playing so well - namely, the misplaced arrogance, the self-delusion, the front-running, the perpetually unwarranted subtext of his career that reads something like “I am such an amazing player that simply by virtue of my presumed greatness I deserve to compete for NBA titles, even though I can’t lead my own team to a .500 record.”

Well fuck him, and fuck this whole idea that Paul Pierce is such a rarified talent and peerless specimen of humanity that we should acquiesce to any of the restrictions he is certain to attempt to place on a trade. He should be shipped out for the best possible deal, preferably one that unloads noxious ding-a-ling Mark Blount and brings back lottery picks. The team needs to be scrapped and rebuilt, not tweaked and re-tooled.

Of course, in fairness to Pierce, we (Jerky and I) have advocated trading him regardless of his mood or behavior, so last night’s comments only serve to highlight the urgency of making the move. What we initially all perceived as a good fortune when Pierce started playing the best ball of his career (and thus, upping his trade value) this season, has quickly devolved into the frustration of knowing that he nixed a trade in the offseason that would have netted us Chris Paul. It is highly unlikely we can move him now for a player of Chris Paul’s impact, but that does not speak to the value we can get for Pierce, inasmuch as it speaks to the value the Hornets could get for Chris Paul. This is a crucial bit of truth that is missed by those who vastly overestimate Pierce’s value in the league.

If Pierce plays fuckhead and nixes trades to anyone but a contender, we are truly screwed. THAT will beget the unsatisfying Nene/Andre Miller trade or something of its ilk. However, if we can trade him to Chicago (where apparently he has already grumbled about not wanting to go) and get back either Deng or Heinrich and the Knicks pick, that would be the kind of bold move to rebuild the franchise that so many of us thought of as the promise of the Ainge-era. Adding Heinrich and a possible top-3 lottery pick to this team while eliminating Pierce’s natural status as an obstacle to player development (and thus, bringing Gerald Green back into the fold to see if he can actually play) would be the kind of forward motion that I believe the fan-base (meaning, the paying ones, not the message-boarders) could embrace. It would mean having a lineup with decent-to-promising young players at every position, another dip into the lottery in 07, and an improved salary structure by time we need to resign all these young guys.

You do not get better without taking chances, and anyone who respects the history of our franchise understands that Red Auerbach built a legacy of championship success by making bold moves, not by spinning his wheels and sinking further and further into perpetual mediocrity. I, for one, would rather sit through losses as part of a long-term effort to win a championship, not as part of some annual effort to embrace the latest crop of crap foisted upon us as “the future is (kind-of) now.” The answer is so goddamn fucking obvious, even though the outcome is unclear.

Trade Pierce.

(Thanks to WOTR for covering much of this ground already on the Yahoo boards)

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