3:45pm: The Celtics consider a frontcourt tandem of Love and Lopez a “dream scenario,” but it’s not one they expect to happen as of right now, Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops tweets.
1:45pm: The Celtics plan to pursue Paul Pierce and Robin Lopez as complementary players to sell Kevin Love on the idea of signing with Boston, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). The Celtics have about $40MM on the books against a projected $67.1MM cap already, and if they sign Love to a deal starting at an estimated max of $18.96MM, they’d be hard-pressed to find room for both Pierce and Lopez without making salary-clearing trades. They also face a stiff challenge from the Clippers for Pierce, as the Clips seek to offload bench players in deals that could net them trade exceptions to allow them to sign-and-trade for the 37-year-old small forward, but Pierce is “in play” for the C’s if they can get Love, Wojnarowski adds (on Twitter).
Pierce told Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald in December that he would probably speak with president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and co-owner Wyc Grousbeck about a role with the Celtics for after his playing days. Pierce would like to become a GM someday, according to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe (on Twitter). It appears that Boston has a different sort of return planned for him if the circumstances are right. Pierce intends to play next season, as Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post reported, and he’s turning down a player option worth nearly $5.544MM on the contract he signed last summer with the Wizards, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com.
The Clippers will have only the $3.376MM taxpayer’s mid-level to spend on outside free agents if they re-sign DeAndre Jordan for the max. They could aggregate bench players to create a trade exception for larger than that amount, as Wojnarowski suggests, though doing so would require the team to find willing trade partners, and they’d also have to convince the Wizards to go along with the plan if they want to sign-and-trade for Pierce. The Nets reportedly resisted the Clips’ efforts to construct sign-and-trade scenarios involving Pierce last year.
Lopez has said he’d prefer to re-sign with the Blazers, though Portland is in flux. Many executives around the league expect LaMarcus Aldridge, for whom Lopez has been a strong complement, to leave the Blazers, as Marc Stein of ESPN.com wrote today.