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Report: Boston almost traded Allen, Pierce at deadline

Apr 18, 2012, 9:58 AM EDT

Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen AP

Since the All-Star break, the Celtics have been one of the best teams in basketball. It has been an amazing story — Kevin Garnett goes to the five, he and Rajon Rondo are beasts on the pick-and-roll, Avery Bradley emerges, Boston’s defense returns to legendary status and they are 21-9. Boston will win the Atlantic and will be a tough out come the playoffs.

And they came within a whisper of breaking it all up at the trade deadline.

There were plenty of rumors swirling at the time and now Adrian Wojnarowski details them at Yahoo — Boston almost moved Ray Allen and considered a deal for Paul Pierce.

As the NBA trade deadline lurched into its final hour a month ago, league sources say the call Ray Allen long feared had come: Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers was on the line, telling him he had been traded. Allen had been sent to the Memphis Grizzlies for a package including O.J. Mayo and a draft pick, and the Celtics’ Big Three had come to a most brusque ending.

For 20 minutes or so, Allen had to process the information. They traded me to Memphis? And yet, as the disappointment dissolved to anger, Rivers returned with a messenger’s nightmare: Never mind. The deal fell apart. Take a deep breath and let’s go back to work again.

Frankly, that is an interesting deal. Mayo is an impactful sixth man in Memphis — the role Boston is asking Ray Allen to play now. Allen’s veteran, championship presence could have been valuable on a good but young Memphis team. The problem is both guys would be gone at the end of the year (Allen is in the last year of his deal, Mayo has an option). If you were Boston, wouldn’t you rather make that run with Allen.

Then there was Pierce.

Before the Big Three could make it past the trade deadline, Allen-to-the-Grizzlies had to fall apart and discussions on a deal that would have sent Paul Pierce to the New Jersey Nets for an expiring Mehmet Okur contract and a lottery pick never reached completion, league sources said.

None of that would have been as much fun as this Celtics run.

Miami and Chicago are still the favorites in the East, but Boston reminds me of the Mavericks last year — everything needs to go right for them, but if it does they are a threat. This team plays hard defense and will be a tough out for anyone. This will be the last run for the big three in Boston, but you get the feeling it will be a fitting one.

And it almost didn’t happen.

  1. ss3walkman - Apr 18, 2012 at 10:16 AM

    Let this be Boston’s Holy Grail. It’s grand finale

  2. Kansachusetts - Apr 18, 2012 at 10:30 AM

    Not ashamed to admit that I would have made that trade back then too, even though I have always been a loyal fan. The Celtics were AWFUL. The Big 3 looked washed up and Rondo was a head case.

    Suddenly Garnett leaps out of the crypt, Pierce goes to work, Rondo rebounds, Bass steps up, Avery Bradley matures overnight and it’s a brave new world. I don’t know how long it’s going to last, but even if it’s one-and-done in the playoffs it will have been worth it to see this last month of great performances and real desire.

  3. meroyero - Apr 18, 2012 at 10:50 AM

    At least Allen would’ve been traded to a good team and they’d get a good young player back. Trading Pierce to the Nets would’ve been a dick move, plus, why the f*** would they trade for Okur?

    • danielcp0303 - Apr 18, 2012 at 11:46 AM

      The Pierce deal would’ve been like the deal the Nets made for Wallace. Okur isn’t the main attraction, it’s the lottery pick (currently the number 6 pick)

  4. savvybynature - Apr 18, 2012 at 10:52 AM

    You keep saying of last year’s Dallas team “everything had to go right for them.”

    I’m not quite sure I follow. They beat a Portland team that many thought could be a surprise, then they swept the Lakers, then they beat the Thunder who were favored to win the West, then they beat Miami in 6 games — the team most pundits had already crowned.

    None of the stars on the teams they went against were hurt or anything. They just beat a bunch of good teams and won a Championship. I’m no Dallas fan (Spurs fan actually, so definitely not a Dallas fan), but they had a very good team and it seems to me they earned it as much as any other champion. It kind of seems like you are trying to chalk it up to luck or some kind of fluke, but I’m not sure what the justification is.

    • drunkenjunk - Apr 18, 2012 at 11:07 AM

      Kurt’s still bitter his butt buddy didn’t win it last year, so he has to make excuses for why the Mavs won. Regardless of the fact that they were just better.

    • loungefly74 - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:31 PM

      theres no arguing the mavericks deserved to win the title last year…they beat the teams they faced…but what “everything had to go right for them.” means (to me) is they were not expected to make that run. no one…no one had the mavs winning the finals last year (at the start of the season, heck, the start of the playoffs). actually, most thought it would be the Lakers to meet the Heat. the mavs got hot at the right time…and the C’s seem like a team that could make the same run. but i absolutely agree with you that the mavs deserved to win the title….but it was kinda surprising.

    • therealhtj - Apr 18, 2012 at 6:32 PM

      The “everything going right” for Dallas was Dirk finally showing up in the clutch. The one thing you could count on was him going into the tank when things got tough, and last year, that didn’t happen.

      Dirk was unguardable for a couple of months. He was sublime. That’s what everything going right for the Mavs meant. The rest of the guys just fed off that.

      It’s not happening this year, or likely ever again for them. @savvybynature, as a “Spurs” fan, that should make you very happy.

    • fouldwimmerlaik - Apr 18, 2012 at 9:20 PM

      Dallas DESERVES that championship. I don’t think it was luck. They worked hard for all those wins. I guess “everything had to go right for them” means that compared to previous years, the team collectively stepped up enough to go to the Promised Land: from their rebounders, to their shooters, to their playmakers, to their hustlers, to their scorers.

      In recent years, Dallas always had the potential like all contenders.

      Last year was their time.

  5. hooks52 - Apr 18, 2012 at 10:57 AM

    Now there the little 3

  6. Little Earthquake - Apr 18, 2012 at 10:59 AM

    This is old news….

  7. tcclark - Apr 18, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    They should’ve done these deals. I know they’re playing really well, but they’re championship hopes are still pretty slim. This would’ve been the best value and they could’ve had a quick turn around. This draft class is really good and they could’ve had multiple picks including a lottery pick. They also would’ve cleared a ton of cap and would’ve been able to resign Mayo at the end of the year. The teams probably going to be done at the end of the year anyway with allen and garnett expiring, but now you keep Pierce on the books and you don’t have a lottery pick. Ainge should’ve pulled the trigger

  8. thekingdave - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    Going to have to agree with savvybynature. Everything just “didn’t go right for the Mavs” Helin, they beat the hell out of your Lakers, straight up. And I’m a Rockets fan and despise everything Dallas.

    • loungefly74 - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:37 PM

      they did destroy the Lakers…and the team that wanted it more advanced…but they were NOT expected to win the series (people seem to forget that, huh)…and the Lakers were a team that just gave up…but no excuses, the Mavs deserved their title…but it did help that “a lot of things went right for them.”

  9. mytthor - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    When I hear “everything had to go right for them,” I don’t think things like injuries for the other team, etc., I think everyone on the Mavs had to play well for an extended period of time.

  10. ncarolinarn7 - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    Go BOBCATS !!! 2044! ^*Cough^*

  11. fouldwimmerlaik - Apr 18, 2012 at 9:09 PM

    Laker fan here.

    Must be tough on Allen to have to deal with that. But at least he was far better than Odom with the way he handled things. Props to you Ray.

    Many people keep on saying that it is the Boston’s Big Three’s final run for the last three years! And yet they’re still a threat. If I were a C’s fan, I would laugh out loud to all their detractors and shout “Take that!”

    Sure, like ALL players, Father Time is wearing them down. But to dismiss them as a non-threat is idiotic. These guys are STILL dangerous.

    My point is, I’m glad they retained the Big Three considering the alternatives.

    As a Laker fan, it is obvious that I want my team in the Finals — to play against the Beasts of the East. And when I say beast, it’s a compliment. The Lakers should gut it out against a no-pushover team. It won’t be a walk in the park for the LAkers in the playoffs no matter the seeding and bracketing would be.

    There’s no fun in getting bragging rights against a team that’s so-so. A true champ wants to beat the best contender.

  12. mrlitl - Apr 18, 2012 at 10:08 PM

    @loungefly74 I’m a huge Kobe/Lakers fan. But I admit that the Mavs beat the sh#t outta the Lakers last year. They had no answer for Dirk or J Terry.

  13. 00maltliquor - Apr 19, 2012 at 4:14 AM

    Why do O.J. Mayo trades ALWAYS fall apart last minute!? What is this, like the 3rd time, at least! And what happend to Memphis saying, *ok for reals now, we are not looking to trade O.J.* ? LOL
    The Lakeshow should’ve seen if they would still trade Mayo for McRoberts like they tried to do last seasons trade deadline and in the offseason as a sign and trade!

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