There is no question the Boston Celtics must make some upgrades to their roster in the offseason. Whether it is through trades, free agency or the 2013 NBA Draft, the Celtics must figure out a way to get better. One option would be to sign Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith in free agency.
With that being said, the only way Boston will have enough cap room to acquire Smith is if they get rid of either small forward Paul Pierce or center Kevin Garnett. There have been rumors circulating that the Celtics are going to trade Pierce in the offseason in an attempt to acquire a few young players. Not having Pierce on the roster could be devastating to the team, but it could be a move that would work out eventually.
Considering Garnett has a no-trade clause in his contract, it might be a little more difficult to remove his $12.4 million from the team next season. However, the fact that Garnett will contemplate retirement in the offseason could make for many interesting decisions. It has been reported that a big part of his decision to return for a 19th season will rest on if Pierce will remain in Boston.
Smith averaged 17.5 points, 8.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.8 blocks, 1.2 steals and 35.3 minutes per game in 76 contests in 2012-13. He also shot 46.5 percent from the field and 30.3 percent from beyond the arc. These numbers are very comparable to what Pierce put up during the regular season, and in some cases, they are even better. Throw in the fact that Smith is eight years younger than Pierce and the Celtics have a legitimate reason to consider signing the 27-year-old.
Smith also played basketball with Rajon Rondo at Oak Hill Academy, which means the two know each other’s playing style. Adding Smith to a group that consists of Rondo, Jeff Green and Avery Bradley could mean a lot of success down the road.
Keeping Pierce for one more season just to see what could happen in the playoffs next year is not a good enough reason to allow Smith to sign elsewhere. I understand Pierce is a huge part of Celtics basketball, but at some point, the organization has to consider the future.