Report: Celtics nearly traded Pierce to Mavs at deadline, would have acquired Josh Smith in deal

It's been a few weeks since the deadline passed, but apparently the Celtics were even closer than we thought to making a blockbuster deal. According to Yahoo! Sports Adrian Wojnarowski, the C's nearly pulled the trigger on a three-team trade that would have sent Paul Pierce to Dallas, Josh Smith to Boston, and Boston's 1st round pick to Atlanta (along with the Mavs Jae Crowder, Brandan Wright and Dahntay Jones to make the salaries work). According to Woj the deal was very close, but in the end Danny Ainge would not give up a first round pick, and decided to hang on to Pierce and make one final (until next year) run. From the article (link). 

Before the trade deadline passed, the Boston Celtics had one final choice to make on the franchise's future: In a three-way deal that would've secured Josh Smith and surrendered Paul Pierce to Dallas, Atlanta wanted Boston's first-round draft pick, too.

As much as any of the proposed deals discussed in February, perhaps this had been the closest Pierce had come to parting with the Celtics, sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Dallas had constructed a package that included Jae Crowder, Brandan Wright and Dahntay Jones to Atlanta, with the Mavericks and Hawks exchanging positions in the 2013 NBA draft.

Nevertheless, Boston wouldn't relent on the pick and the deal died on meeting-room grease boards in three cities. Celtics coach Doc Rivers has always understood that general manager Danny Ainge's reshaping of the roster is inevitable, but he's never been in a hurry to lord over a rebuild.

If Woj is correct (and the man usually is), the C's were willing to deal Pierce, but not willing to sweeten the pot with their first rounder.

Since the deadline, the Celtics have played extremely well, going 5-1 over a tough stretch of games, and making Ainge's decision seem like a good one. As someone who's wary of how Smith, a player who relies on pure athleticism, will age - I think the price tag of Pierce + a 1st rounder was too high.

What would have been interesting is if Ainge would have then re-engaged the Clippers on the KG for DeAndre Jordan and Eric Bledsoe deal. While every Celtics fan is enjoying the hell out of this run, there's no denying that getting three young, athletic players to add to Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee, Jared Sullinger and Jeff Green would have made this one exciting team next season.

Of course, none of this matters now. The C's held on to Pierce and Garnett, and are in the midst of a 13-4 run. Tonight they'll try and pass Smith and the Hawks in the standings, and Paul Pierce will help them try and do it.

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