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Boston Celtics Rumors: Paul Pierce To Be Bought Out, Sent To China For Stephon Marbury?

By Jason Van Hoven, Posted: 05/29/13 12:05PM EDT
Paul Pierce
Pierce has always wanted another ring.(Photo : Reuters)

A report from Rich Levine of CSNNE.com noted that, according to NBA circles who spoke with ESPN NBA analyst and radio host Stephen A. Smith, Boston Celtics veteran Paul Pierce could be going to the Beijing Ducks as part of a package for Stephon Marbury, who played for the Celtics briefly in 2009.

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In an offseason for the Celtics filled with rampant rumor and speculation involving Pierce and fellow veteran teammate Kevin Garnett, this latest rumor may come as a surprise to some, but not to others. Marbury hasn't played in the NBA since his time in Boston four years ago, when he appeared in 23 games (four games started) and averaged 3.8 points per game. Pierce is going to be 36 in October and his value has steadily declined over recent years.

Pierce's future has been especially pressing, given that the 15-year man is set to enter the final year of the four-year, $61 million deal that he signed in 2010, which is scheduled to pay him $15.3 million for the 2013-14 season. General manager Danny Ainge said on his final weekly appearance of the 2012-13 season on Boston sports radio WEEI (93.7 FM) that the first decision he will make in terms of Boston offseason moves involves Pierce.

It seems to make sense that Pierce would get bought out. While his contract is only guaranteed for $5 million, the Celtics can amnesty him and wipe away his salary from their books to get younger. Bringing in a guy like Marbury, who is also 36, wouldn't make Boston younger, but given his success playing in China, he could provide the team with more of the offensive firepower that was lacking this past season.

Consider that his average in points has increased each year he has spent in China since 2009. In his first year, he averaged 22.9 points per game with the Shanxi Zhongyu Brave Dragons. In his following two seasons with the Foshan Dralions, he averaged 25.2 and 27.0 points per game, respectively. And, this past season with the Beijing Ducks, he averaged 28.3 points per game.

So, it looks as if Marbury has risen from the ashes in a sense, dominating the Chinese Basketball Association in stark contrast to his closing years in the NBA. However, the NBA game and international game are very different, and the domination that Marbury exerted overseas could very well fail to carry over should he make a comeback in a swap for Pierce. Guard play in the NBA is much younger and faster, so much so that a 36-year-old guard might soon figure out that his contributions are minimal at best.

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