May 8, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Paul Pierce (34) takes a breather during the second half in game two of the second round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. Miami won 94-82. Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Clippers: Is Paul Pierce A Good Fit For Clippers?

If Father Time is a friend of the San Antonio Spurs, he’s the arch enemy of Paul Pierce’s. The 10-time All Star has been getting his way in the league with every slow spin move, lead-footed drive to the rim and grandfatherly pull-up jumper.

In a league where athleticism can be the primary catalyst for popularity, Pierce has earned his notoriety in many other ways, ways that continue to make him a highly coveted player. He’s constantly mentioned as one of the league’s best wings and pursued by a number of teams, most notably the Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers don’t mind adding a 36-year-old to their starting lineup, in fact it seems they prefer it. Originally reported by ESPN, the Clippers are interested in a sign-and-trade situation with the New Jersey Nets for Pierce, after adding Spencer Hawes and filling their biggest need for a backup big man.

The Clippers have offered a sign-and-trade situation involving some combination of forwards Matt Barnes, Jared Dudley and second-year wing Reggie Bullock. However, general manager Billy King of the Nets has been hesitant to make a deal.

If the Clippers can acquire him, It would be a reunion of head coach Doc Rivers and Pierce, who were last together with the Boston Celtics.

The small forward position hasn’t been very productive for the Clippers since Corey Maggette’s stretch with the team between 2000-08. Although Barnes gave them a lift last season after his move to the starting lineup, the Clippers have failed to receive consistent production from the 3 spot.

Pierce can still put up buckets, although upon first glimpse of him running the break you’d think he doesn’t have much left to contribute. However, he’s not the only player who’s been effective well into his late 30s.

Vince Carter, Kevin Garnett, Steve Nash, Ray Allen, Tim Duncan, and a few others are all older than Pierce and are still posting positive stats in the league.

Pierce had a good year with the Nets, averaging 13.5 points and 4.6 rebounds. He started 68 games and posted solid numbers under micro-managed minutes primarily due to minor nagging injuries and former Nets head coach Jason Kidd looking to keep him healthy for the postseason.

His shooting has dipped in recent years, but it’s no cause for alarm. He’s still a capable free throw shooter (80 percent) and as has shot 45 percent from the field in his career.

2008-09 ★ 31 BOS 81 81 37.5 .457 .391 .480 .830 5.6 3.6 1.0 0.3 2.8 20.5
2009-10 ★ 32 BOS 71 71 34.0 .472 .414 .497 .852 4.4 3.1 1.2 0.4 2.3 18.3
2010-11 ★ 33 BOS 80 80 34.7 .497 .374 .547 .860 5.4 3.3 1.0 0.6 2.1 18.9
2011-12 ★ 34 BOS 61 61 34.0 .443 .366 .476 .852 5.2 4.5 1.1 0.4 2.8 19.4
2012-13 35 BOS 77 77 33.4 .436 .380 .466 .787 6.3 4.8 1.1 0.4 2.8 18.6
2013-14 36 BRK 75 68 28.0 .451 .373 .507 .826 4.6 2.4 1.1 0.4 2.0 13.5
Career 1177 1167 36.1 .447 .370 .478 .807 5.9 3.8 1.4 0.6 2.9 21.3
Pierce would provide that back-to-the-basket presence that Rivers longs for and was hoping to expunge out of failed project Danny Granger, who never caught his stride with the Clippers after being bought out by the Philadelphia 76ers last season.
With his back to the basket, Pierce stretches the floor for Chris Paul, and opens the opportunity for swing passes to guard J.J. Redick, who would have one of his better (if not best) seasons shooting the ball playing with a small-forward that will attract the double team.
One concern for adding Pierce is the Clippers fast pace of play. The Clippers were first in points per game and in 100 possessions per contest they scored 109.4 points.
Although the 2008 Celtics team which Pierce won his championship with played at a slightly lower pace of 107.6 points per 100 possessions, at that time Pierce was only 29 years old. Playing at a faster pace could mean more injuries for Pierce, who will be 37 when the 2014 season commences next October.
However Doc Rivers was masterful in managing minutes with Pierce and forward Kevin Garnett in their time with the Celtics. It would take the same type of minutes management and effort from Clippers trainer Jasen Powell to keep Pierce healthy for the post season.
If anything, the Clippers’ high pace of play proves they’re in dire need of a greater offensive weapon who will bolster their half court offense. Pierce is just that.
Although Redick led the league in first-quarter points in the regular season, the Clippers play was highly dependent on transition buckets. At times their half court offense would come to a serious halt when their first and second options were thwarted by the defense.
Adding Pierce gives the Clippers a great look in their half court offense, and another player capable of playing in isolation with his face or back to the basket.
Any way you slice it, Pierce would be a good pick up for the Clippers. He’s been a relatively healthy player, never missing more than 10 games in his last two seasons and would be the addition the Clippers need.
For now, it seems the Nets aren’t budging on a deal for Pierce. The Clippers do have the ability to sign him as a free agent, although the sign-and-trade situation would be a bit cap friendlier, in addition to helping the Clippers shed the contracts of Barnes and Dudley.
While nothing is imminent, all sides are interested in working something out and most times that’s all you really need to get a deal done.

Tags: Los Angeles Clippers NBA Free Agency Paul Pierce

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