Team executives involved in exploratory trade talks report that the Knicks (Amar'e Stoudemire), Lakers (Pau Gasol), Raptors (Bargnani) and Celtics (Paul Pierce) are open to discussing their high-profile names. In every case but one, the early indications are that none could be moved without a bad contract going back in return. (In Stoudemire's case, his health and the $45 million left on his contract after this season almost certainly will prevent any deal from happening.) The lone exception, executives say, may be Pierce, whose ruthless scoring prowess and championship experience come with another attractive feature: only $4 million of his $15.3 million salary is guaranteed next season. With the Celtics playing better since Avery Bradley returned from injury, president Danny Ainge once again finds himself trying to determine whether the remnants of the 2007-08 championship team have enough to make one more run. Some rival executives believe the Celtics recently waived Jarvis Varnado and Kris Joseph to create roster flexibility for a potential trade. If Ainge decides to stand pat, a deal involving Pierce -- which would mark the true end of the Big Three era -- could be re-examined around the draft or during free agency.
Take all these rumors as what they are, just rumors. I would be surprised to see Rondo or Pierce traded since he has committed to give Garnett another two more years after this, meaning the current core should have that length. Then again, get ready for more and more rumors in the next weeks because Danny is always willing to listen to offers for his players.
I would prefer that Danny considered his core untouchable in order to avoid problems with his players, as it happened with the whole shopping Ray Allen situation in the past.