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.
"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.