Stein: Celtics and Grizzlies have talked, Pierce/Gay/Gasol trade 'makes some sense'

When you're a veteran-laden team sitting three games below .500 with less than four weeks to go before the trade deadline, the rumors start flying. I've said this in previous trade talk posts, but I feel like it's worth repeating - some people like to talk about trade possibilities and the insider rumors. Others don't. But at CelticsLife we like to give you the latest on all aspects of the C's, trade possibilities included.

With that said, the latest trade talk comes from ESPN's Marc Stein. Stein wrote yesterday that the Celtics and Grizzlies have had exploratory talks since Rudy Gay was put on the market. No word on what players were discussed, but according to Stein the deal that several team executives have mentioned would send Paul Pierce to Memphis, Rudy Gay to the Lakers, and Pau Gasol to Boston.

Here's the excerpt from Stein's article (link).

The safe assumption remains that the Boston Celtics will focus their trade-deadline efforts on acquiring another big man before the Feb. 21 buzzer to fortify their too-small front line.

Although there are still live rumbles on the league's personnel grapevine that this will actually be the February that Celtics front-office chief Danny Ainge finally parts with Paul Pierce or Rajon Rondo, I'm still pretty skeptical. As one team monitoring the Celtics said this week: "[Boston] has floated the idea of moving Pierce or Rondo out there for the last three years ... but has never pulled the trigger."

So it's premature, to me, to throw Pierce's name up there with Rudy Gay and Pau Gasol on the list of high-profile names available this trade season, even though we've heard more than one rival team speculate -- given that the Celtics and Grizzlies, sources say, have indeed held some exploratory trade talks since Gay hit the market -- that a three-way deal where Pierce lands in Memphis, Gasol goes to Boston and Gay joins the Lakers makes "some sense."

It is important to note that Stein still views a Pierce deal as a long shot, but considering Danny's long running Gasol infatuation, and the fact that this deal would save Memphis a ton of money long-term AND rid LA of their biggest headache - you can't say the deal is completely ridiculous.

Now obviously trading Paul Pierce is not an easy subject for Celtic's fans to address. He's a 15 year Celtic who owns a ring and the #2 spot on the franchise's scoring list after all. But at this point I think most of us will agree - the current mix is not working. The Celtics as a team struggle mightily to score inside, and they do not make up for their shortcomings in the paint by shooting threes well. Their offense is reliant on mid-range jumpers, the least efficient shot in basketball.

If this deal is on the table, I truly think the Lakers and Grizzlies do it in a heartbeat. Los Angeles because their current mix of players is an even bigger disaster than the C's, and Gay takes some of the scoring load off of Kobe. Memphis would agree to it as well, because of the aforementioned money situation, and because Pierce would still allow them to compete this season. So the question then becomes, does Danny pull the trigger?

Gasol has struggled through injuries and a 6th man role in Lakerland, but is still a post presence and rebounding threat that the Celtics could surely use. Jeff Green has been a disappointment thus far, but what impact would a starting role have on him? Certainly he'll never be Paul Pierce, but Pierce also seems to be struggling to find his legs at the moment.

Ainge has long said that Red made a mistake keeping Bird and McHale past their expiration dates, so now the onus falls on him to avoid the same mistake. Unless of course he sees something with this team that we don't, and decides to keep the gang together for one last run.

Follow Mike on twitter - Mike_Dyer13