Although the Cavaliers and Bucks are among the teams that have expressed interest in Paul Pierce, the longtime Celtic is unlikely to be sent to either of those clubs if he's traded this week, according to ESPN.com's Marc Stein. Stein reports that the C's have shown an inclination to work with Pierce in an effort to send him to a favorable destination if they make a deal by week's end.
Boston continues to seek a first-rounder for Pierce, so if the team receives an offer from a contending team willing to give up a first-round pick, the 35-year-old could be moved within the next few days. However, if such a deal doesn't materialize, the Celtics are prepared to guarantee Pierce's full $15MM+ salary, since the club believes he'll still have trade value throughout the offseason and up until the 2014 trade deadline. Pierce's contract is currently partially guaranteed for $5MM, but will become fully guaranteed if he's not waived on or before Sunday.
Although the Celtics' decision to let Doc Rivers out of his contract to join the Clippers, in exchange for a first-round pick, may have signaled the start of a rebuilding period, it's still possible that Boston could start the 2013/14 season with Pierce and Kevin Garnett on the roster. According to Stein, the Celtics believe retaining Pierce may help convince KG to stick around without Rivers, rather than retiring or asking for a trade.
It's also possible that Pierce could be dealt this week to a team that intends to buy him out for the cap savings, says Stein. In that scenario, Pierce could end up reuniting with Rivers by signing with the Clippers in July.