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Trade Rumor: Celtics offered Paul Pierce to Blazers

The Celtics [1] offered captain Paul Pierce [2] to the Blazers, according to a report by ESPN.com’s Chris Broussard [3]. Repeat: According to a report by ESPN.com’s Chris Broussard.

What exactly team president Danny Ainge wanted in return for Pierce and the $32 million remaining on his contract is unclear, as LaMarcus Aldridge ($12.9 million) is essentially untouchable, Marcus Camby [4] ($11.2 million) is a week from his 38th birthday and Raymond Felton [5] ($7.6 million) would be an expensive backup.

That would leave some combination of Gerald Wallace [6] ($9.5 million), Wesley Matthews ($6.1 million), Jamal Crawford [7] ($5 million) and Nicolas Batum ($2.2 million). Of that group, Crawford is the only one rumored on the market, and regardless Portland shot down Ainge’s offer, if the report is more than rumor.

According to Yahoo Sports’ Marc Spears [8], Ainge & Co. also reportedly joined the Lakers, Spurs and Knicks in expressing interest in Josh Howard [9] as a boost to their wing depth, but the Jazz [10] aren’t willing to part with 31-year-old ($3 million) with a history of issues, on and off the court.

Finally, Fox Sports writer Sam Amico tweeted [11] that the Celtics have engaged the Kings in discussions about acquiring J.J. Hickson, a 23-year-old big making just $2.4 million. After averaging 13.8 points and 8.7 rebounds for the Cavaliers [12] a season ago, Hickson is struggling mightily in Sacramento. Then again, who isn’t struggling mightily in Sacramento?

Whether or not any of these rumors come to fruition, one thing is clear: Ainge is ringing up quite the phone bill.