Rumor Mill: Boston Celtics in hot pursuit of Atlanta’s Josh Smith?

The Boston Celtics are reportedly interested in Josh Smith. (Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)

With the NBA trade deadline inching closer by the minute, the Boston Celtics have officially entered the race for Atlanta’s Josh Smith, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein.

But any such trade might come at a cost that neither Boston’s front office, not to mention fan base, would even consider: Paul Pierce.

While the Celtics wouldn’t want to move Pierce, the temptation of bringing in a young talent on the level of Smith’s for a playoff push is intriguing. However, while it might seem logical on the surface, the move doesn’t make a whole lot of sense beyond that, especially should Atlanta require the lifelong Celtic.

Smith, at the budding age of 27, is averaging 17.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.1 blocks per game with a PER of 17.91 during the 2012-13 season.

Pierce, who is now 35, sports a stat-line that is rather comparable to that of Smith’s, averaging 18.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 0.3 blocks per game with a PER of 18.27.

The notable difference would be Smith’s presence on the defensive boards, mainly his knack of disrupting shooters with his blocking ability.

Despite that, it’s hard to imagine Danny Ainge moving Pierce for Smith, who is in the final year of a $58 million contract with the Hawks and will be a free agent at the end of this season.

We will have to wait and see whether or not the Celtics have something up their sleeve to offer for Smith, but there is definitely buzz that they are currently weighing their options.

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