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Celtics ‘likely’ to buy out Paul Pierce? Reports conflict

New York Knicks v Boston Celtics - Game Six

BOSTON, MA - MAY 3: Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics and Kevin Garnett #5 exchange words in the final moment in the 4th quarter in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs on May 3, 2013 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics lost 88-80. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

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The Celtics are at a crossroads. Again.

For the first time since grouping Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, Boston didn’t win a playoff series. So, as has become annual tradition, the Celtics are considering tearing down their team and rebuilding.

Perhaps, it’s finally time.

Allen is already in Miami. Garnett might retire. Rajon Rondo won’t necessarily be ready for the start of the season, and Jeff Green gives Boston another young piece to build around in addition to Rondo.

And then there’s Paul Pierce, who’s under contract for $15,333,334 next season but could bought out for $5 million by June 30. A Celtic his entire career, Pierce still holds sentimental value in Boston, complicating any options.

Bob Finnan of The News-Herald:

Sources indicate Celtics director of basketball operations Danny Ainge will likely buy out forward Paul Pierce’s $15 million contract for next year

Rich Levine of CSN New England:

But for it’s worth, I spoke with a team source this weekend who immediately laughed off this report.

The funny part wasn’t the idea that the Celtics will buy out Pierce, because, as we know, that’s obviously within the realm of possibility. The joke was the suggestion that the C’s are “likely” to do anything at this point in time.

I’d think Pierce, who has only one season remaining on his contract, would hold plenty of trade value. He’d appeal to both teams looking for a quality small forward and teams looking to shed long-term salary.

The Celtics can trade Pierce right now – potentially interesting additional teams that would want to buy him out – to any team other than the Spurs, Heat and Pacers. Once those teams are eliminated, Boston can talk trade with them, too. So, the Celtics have time to gauge the best way to part ways with Pierce – or if they even want to go that wrote.