Would You Trade Noah for Paul Pierce?

Would You Trade Noah for Paul Pierce?
Picture by Keith Allison

Disclaimer: This has absolutely nothing to do with Jo's early season struggles- I have no doubt that he'll turn it around once he gets into game shape. If there's anyone in the NBA who needs to be in top shape to play his game effectively, it's Noah.

And no, I haven't joined the Sam Smith "Trade of the Week" club- I love Sam, I'd never want to steal his thunder or his position as Chicago's resident amatuer GM.

You can blame this idea on Celtics' GM Danny Ainge, who apparently wouldn't have any problems with trading away his aging core for some young talent.

From Boston.com:

"I sat with Red (Auerbach) during a Christmas party (in the 1990s). Red was talking to Larry, Kevin, and myself and there was a lot of trade discussion at the time and Red actually shared some of the trade discussions. And I told Red what are you doing? Why are you waiting?

"He had a chance to trade Larry (to Indiana) for Chuck Person and Herb Williams and (Steve) Stipanovich and he had a chance to trade Kevin (to Dallas) for Detlef Schrempf and Sam Perkins. I was like are you kidding? I mean I feel that way now. If I were presented with those kind of deals for our aging veterans, it’s a done deal to continue the success."

You can't really blame Ainge for not wanting to see the Celtics go through 20 years of rebuilding, like they did when Bird, Parrish and McHale got old.

Ray Allen and KG are both in the final year of their contracts, and they are both 36 years old (KG turns 36 in May). There is no financial reason for Ainge to move either of them, and while there is probably a contender that wouldn't mind having one of them for the rest of the season, you can't imagine that any team would give up a young talent and/or a high draft pick for either of them.

Pierce, on the other hand, just turned 34 and is still under contract for two more seasons after this one (but the final year is only guaranteed for $4 million). He isn't the player he used to be, but he's still a hell of a scorer and not too old to play good defense.

Imagine the Eastern Conference Finals, and the Bulls are having trouble scoring- if you put a lineup of Rose, Rip, Pierce, Deng and Boozer on the floor, you would almost be happy to see the Heat blitz Rose with a double team. Or put Asik or Taj out there instead of Boozer, if you're worried about defense and rebounding.

I'm sure everyone reading this would love to trade Boozer for Pierce- but Ainge isn't a complete fool (although trading Perkins for Jeff Green screwed his team over in the short term and, it appears, the long term as well). Ainge wants youth if he is going to make a trade, and Noah certainly fits the bill.

He's a big man the Celtics could count on for the next decade- and since the Bulls have Asik and Gibson (and Mirotic on the way in a few years), they can certainly live without Noah.

Can Ainge do any better than getting Noah? I don't think so. The only teams who would want Pierce are serious title contenders, and most of them don't have young talent to part with in exchange for a guy who only has a few years left. The Bulls don't have that problem- in fact, they really can't afford to keep all four of their big men, and they can probably keep Asik and Gibson long-term for the same money that Noah makes by himself.

To keep the Bulls out of the Luxury Tax this season, they can throw in Korver and his expiring deal (technically he's under contract for next season, but it's only guaranteed for $500,000 if the Celtics waive him). The Bulls would have no use for Kyle if they bring in Pierce, and the Celtics could even keep him for next season on the cheap (if they decide not to or can't use their cap space next summer).

The trade would put the Bulls close to Tax territory next season, but if they get past the Heat and win a title, I can't imagine that Reinsdorf wouldn't pay the Tax for one season. He could still get around it anyway by moving Hamilton and his expiring deal during the summer.

If I'm the Bulls, I'd even throw in a future 1st-round pick or two, it's not like the Bulls are going to need them.

NOT the Bobcats pick, however- if that pick gets traded, it's for a player in his prime, not for a 2-year rental.

Noah, Korver, and two future 1st-round picks for Pierce and two future 2nd-rounders... sign me up.

Comments

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  • The question is why would the Bulls want to trade for the Celt's aging core, which they roundly beat about a week ago?

    There is nothing said here about how Pierce brings more to the table than Noah does.

    Next, I suppose you will be writing a column about why Lee Mc"Fail" should pick up the rest of Soriano's contract. Or why Gar should be Kevin McHale and help out the Celtics. The name of this column is not Beantown.

  • In reply to jack:

    Pierce doesn't bring more to the table, he brings something much different, though.

    This would be like when Krause traded Oakley for Cartright- Oak was younger, and a better player- but the Bulls needed a center, and they had a young PF (Horace Grant) to replace Oakley. Cartright was a much better fit.

    Right now, the Bulls have Asik to replace Noah, but they really need a scorer to help Rose.

    I'm only looking at beating Miami- the reason we lost to them last year wasn't defense or rebounding, it was a lack of offense outside of Derrick.

    And I certainly don't think Pierce is done- he got off to a slow start this season because he was hurt, but he was still a beast in last year's playoffs:

    38.1 min, 20.8 pts, 5.0 reb, 2.8 ast, 45.9% FG, 44.7% on 3's (while shooting over five 3's per game), .574 TS%.

    Just against the Heat, he put up 19.8, 5.6 and 3.0 on 45.5% and 40.7% on 3's.

    You can't tell me that Pierce went from that to done in 6 months- well you can tell me that, but I won't buy it.

    One other advantage would be that Thibs wouldn't have to play Deng 40+ minutes every night, you know he trusts Pierce enough to sit Luol more when the 2nd unit is in the game.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    I have to thank you for giving a responsive reply. I don't know if I understand it or agree with it, but at least you clarified your position, something many people on Chicago Now won't do.

  • In reply to jack:

    Thanks for that jack, yeah I see no reason why people can't disagree without being a jerk about it. We're all Bulls fans, after all.

    I honestly think a lot of the people you mention are just mad because all their pessimism has proven to be grossly misplaced. For example, I read a lot about how the Bulls need a new 3rd-string PG because JL3 sucks- when JL3 hadn't played more than a few garbage time minutes as a Bull.

    So when he gets his chance and actually preforms pretty well, the haters look like fools.

    I've been very blessed with the group of posters we've had here- everyone is very intelligent and they at least give reasons for their opinions.

  • I would have to disagree with this. I know you say he's only 34, but from what I see from him and what I hear from a close friend (who's a huge Celtics fan) is Pierce doesn't have much left. I guess for 2 years he could be helpful, but he is getting paid more than Noah for the next two years. The lineup of Rose, Rip, Pierce, Deng and Boozer would probably be too small, but I guess if Asik was there instead of Boozer, that could work. But then to me it seems like Pierce would not be a player who would fit the Bulls. I think the Bulls have planned to keep Noah as a center piece and would not trade him for an aging player, but I could be wrong...

  • In reply to Keep:

    Just to clarify, the Rose/Rip/PP/Deng/Boozer lineup wouldn't play very much, only against certain matchups when our offense is struggling. Put Asik in there and you'd be able to play them a little more, but that lineup is just a match-up thing.

    I honestly think Deng is more of a centerpiece than Noah, and we'd have Asik, Taj and Boozer to play most of the PF/C minutes.

  • I'd do it. Noah is no Bill Russell. And he's a bit brittle. Rose is the only Bull who's untouchabull.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Well, by that logic, why not trade the whole team minus Rose for the Charlotte Bobcats or New Orleans Hornets?

  • In reply to jack:

    We were talking about trading Noah, remember?

  • In reply to jack:

    yea, wouldn't Noah, Korver and 2 first round picks be wayyyy too much? Would rather play at least this year out with who the Bulls have instead of ruining a good thing with an unsure trade....the trade would have to be a slam dunk to make sense this year

  • In reply to Keep:

    Korver is only thrown in to keep the Bulls under the Luxury Tax threshold this season, plus he'd never get any minutes with Pierce on the roster.

    The draft pick swap is mostly just for show- but it also keeps the Bulls from having to draft someone at the bottom of the first round and having to guarantee them first-round money.

    The difference in the #30 pick (last of the first round) and #40-ish isn't huge, and we can always trade back up into the bottom of the first round if we really want someone.

    If it can be done, it's much better to draft a guy in the 2nd round- with Mirotic for example, he can't come over for 3 years because he is bound by the rookie scale salary- if we would have drafted him in the 2nd round, we'd be able to pay him the full MLE to come over right away.

  • Don , I'm glad you're not the GM.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    LOL, well there's something almost everyone agrees on.

  • Okay - so when I read the headline on the Tribune, I was going to write, simply, "NO" Over ... done ... finis.

    You state your case logically, so I thought about it. Asik, I believe, is an UFA after this year. Mirotic, from what I read and hear, is more of a face-up 4 than a 5. Gibson is hugely valuable given Boozer's flaws. Those, taken together, are strong reasons not to make the move.

    Your comments on low first rounders are right on. Butler was a great get; came from a quality program, 4 year guy, and from everything you read and hear - a great kid.

    It's tempting ... one of the talking heads on ESPN yesterday said the MIA-LAL game was much more important to MIA because they are in a home court battle with the Bulls. The lure of more scoring from Pierce is tempting. Poster Keep's friend in Boston, if correct, must be confirmed with advance scouting.

    I've read, from several sources, that last year was THE year to best the Heat. That may well prove to be prescient. I give it a very reluctant NO ... on balance, the tipping point is Keep's friends observation.

  • Great post MoneyBoy, hopefully you won't be a stranger.

    Asik is only a Restricted FA this summer, and since he will have only been in the league for 2 seasons, nobody else can offer him more than the MLE. I could certainly see a team signing him to an offer sheet with a first-year salary of the full MLE, but I don't see any way the Bulls don't match the offer.

    If the Bulls did make this trade, they would need to pick up another big body for this season- IMHO Asik can give you 30 minutes most nights, and for the most part Taj can be your back-up center. Without looking at other team's situations, I have to believe there's some team out there with a decent back-up center that we could trade Brewer for.

    Eventually the Bulls won't be able to pay all 4 of their big men- and really, all four of them are starter-quality players. Maybe the Bulls can trade Boozer for a top-notch scoring SG, but IMHO Noah is going to be the easiest to move (and with Asik waiting in the wings, the easiest to replace).

    Not that there's a rush, it won't be until the 2013-14 season that Taj and Omer will see big-money extensions, so the Bulls can be patient if they want.

    Keep's friend may well be right about Pierce being done, but I refuse to believe it's not just a case of his being injured. He's coming off two consecutive seasons of career-high efficiencies... in 2010 he set career highs for TS% and eFG% (.616 and .535), and in 2011 he bested both of those marks (.620 and .551).

    Combine that with his outstanding playoff numbers from last season, and IMHO he hasn't had a dropoff, it's just the injury he was dealing with (and the lack of training camp).

    Once again great post MoneyBoy, I hope you'll continue to post here and help us grow the blog.

  • No. Not a chance. Never would I trade Noah for Paul Pierce unless it was like 2 or 3 years ago. He gets paid 15M a season and he's sucking this year. If you want scoring he's shooting an abysmal 38% from the floor with a PER of 16. To top it all off, he plays the same position as Deng so you've just put 30M dollars per season into the SF position so you can, on occasion, go small. Just no. Besides that, we're 11th in scoring. we don't need more scoring.

  • Really, we won't know if this was a good idea until May.

    If the Bulls beat the Heat in the playoffs, I will look like an idiot for even suggesting this trade.

    But if the Bulls lose again because they can't score late in games, and Korver shoots 27.3% from the field and 28.6% on 3's again like he did last year vs Miami... then we'll we wishing we had Pierce.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    No, Don. There is no scenario where you trade a 26 year old center for a 34 year old SF that has 40m+ left on his contract---none. You're just asking to screw yourself with an albatross of a contract. Plus, Pierce is shooting 38% from the floor. Thats beyond terrible.

    Besides, if you want Pierce that bad there's no need to give up such assets. There just isn't. His value isn't that high because, you guessed it, he's 34 years old and he's stinking it up out there. Neither is Allen's (36 years old) who I'd rather have anyway.

  • In reply to Scooter:

    Scooter, thanks a whole lot for your comments, I surely do appreciate intelligent conversation with good posters, even when we don't agree.

    This is a top-notch thread, even though everyone disagrees with me, the conversation is outstanding.

    I hope you'll be a regular here, I think for only being on ChicagoNow for nine days I'm doing excellent so far with having outstanding posters making outstanding posts.

    If Pierce had 40 million dollars plus left, that might be one thing- but he doesn't.

    He's owed $16.79 million for next season, for 2013-14 his contract is only guaranteed for $5 million.

    He's basically an expiring contract next summer, if you need to move him you can send $3 million to cover his final non-guaranteed year.

    Check back in 2 months, I'll bet that Pierce is close to his numbers for the last two years, once he gets in shape and gets healthy.

    The lockout hurt veterans the worst- but Pierce was an All-Star last season who averaged 20.8 pts on .459 FG and .447 on 3's (shooting over 5 a game) in the playoffs. There is no way he just completely lost it over the last 6 months.

    Noah has been just as horrible as Pierce this season, he was benched for more than one 4th quarter because he was playing so bad.

    I don't expect to change your mind, but I'd probably do this trade. Noah isn't going to be here past next season anyway, I expect him to be traded by the summer of 2013. After this season he's owed 4 years and $48 million, that's a hell of a lot for what he's giving us this year.

    Asik and Gibson combined can be had for that price, and I just don't see the Bulls keeping Noah a whole lot longer when they have Asik and Gibson (and Mirotic coming over for the 2014-15 season).

    Maybe the Bulls can do better than Pierce, but not if Jo doesn't pick it up- which, again, I fully expect him to do.

  • I know it's just one game, and it was against the Wizards, but Pierce had 34 points, 10 assists and 8 rebounds last night.

    He's now at 16.3 pts, 5.0 reb and 4.6 ast while shooting 41.7% from behind the arc on the season.

    Of course, with our offense ranking 3rd in the league, it's certainly not like we need to make a trade to add more offense right now.

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