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Trade Rumor: Celtics offered Paul Pierce to Blazers 03.14.12 at 11:01 pm ET
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The Celtics offered captain Paul Pierce to the Blazers, according to a report by ESPN.com’s Chris Broussard. 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 ($11.2 million) is a week from his 38th birthday and Raymond Felton ($7.6 million) would be an expensive backup.

That would leave some combination of Gerald Wallace ($9.5 million), Wesley Matthews ($6.1 million), Jamal Crawford ($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, Ainge & Co. also reportedly joined the Lakers, Spurs and Knicks in expressing interest in Josh Howard as a boost to their wing depth, but the Jazz 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 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 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.

Read More: Boston Celtics, gerald wallace, Josh Howard, NBA Trade Deadline
Celtics free agent options at small forward redux 12.01.11 at 5:39 pm ET
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Welcome to Part 4 of this week’s daily post-NBA lockout position-by-position breakdown of free agent options available to the Celtics. We’ve profiled the C’s biggest needs – at center and shooting guard — as well as another critical position (backup point guards), so we move to what coach Doc Rivers called a pressing concern during the 2010-11 season: Backup Small Forwards.

The Celtics began last season with starter Paul Pierce and only swingman Marquis Daniels to spare the nine-time All-Star from playing heavy minutes at the 3. Once Daniels went down in February with a season-ending spinal injury, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was forced to make a deal for depth behind Pierce. Enter Jeff Green, who remains a restricted free agent after the Celtics extended a $5.91 million offer in June.

As we’ve noted  before, the Celtics have six players under contract in 2011-12 for a combined $64.3 million (Kevin Garnett, $21.2 million; Paul Pierce, $15.33 million; Ray Allen, $10 million; Rajon Rondo, $10 million; Jermaine O’Neal, $6.23 million; Avery Bradley, $1.53 million) and should match any offer Green receives.

The Celtics would be wise to pick up another player capable of spelling Pierce to ensure they aren’t handcuffed by the lack of depth at the position again, even if they re-sign Green. Obviously the C’s won’t be dedicating much more money beyond those two to small forwards, but they need to find as many inexpensive versatile options (2-3 or 3-4 guys) as possible to eat up minutes for their three aging stars.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the options that should be available to the Celtics at backup small forward (barring overseas exports), separating the current free agent players into four categories.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Grant Hill, Josh Howard, NBA
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