Most rumors have argued that the Boston Celtics would not buy out Paul Pierce and instead look to trade him during the 2013 NBA Draft. However, according to Sam Amick of USA Today Sports, the Celtics are expected to buy him out if the blockbuster trade with the Los Angeles Clippers is completed:
If this trade is completed, it’s expected that Celtics small forward Paul Pierce would be bought out by Boston this summer and sign with the Clippers as a free agent. Pierce, a Los Angeles native, is only guaranteed $5 million of his $15.3 million earnings for next season if he’s cut before June 30.
There are clearly some conflicting reports here. One thing is certain — if Kevin Garnett and Doc Rivers are sent to LA, which seems very probable at this point, Boston would be rebuilding and would likely look to get rid of Pierce one way or another.
Many have been suspicious regarding the notion of the Celtics actually buying Pierce out, as he has served the team for so long, and just buying him out would be an ultimate sign of disrespect. While it is a business, the Celtics would probably still be better off looking for a deal for Pierce. The NBA Draft is going to take place before the June 30 deadline, and Pierce could very well be traded before that point. He still has trade value, and whether the Celtics get some young pieces or a trade exception in return, it would still be better than simply buying him out and having nothing to show for it except for immediate cap relief.