Intriguing. http://basketball.realgm.com/article/219177/The_Art_Of_The_Managed_Blow_Up Third: Paul Pierce. Paul has one more guaranteed year after this season and an unguaranteed (or partially guaranteed) year in 13-14. If the Celtics do go into blow-up mode the team might even consider amnestying Pierce after the season, so he is definitely someone who should be on the market. He also still has big-time game, and is a legitimate All-Star. Pierce makes $15 million so he is a bit harder to move, but it is possible. Minnesota and Houston jump out as teams that could use him; the Lakers too. Conclusion: Houston is the best possible partner. The Rockets are playing surprisingly well and need a small forward with Pierce's skill-set. With a player like Pierce, the Rockets could move into the first tier in the Western Conference and make it to the Conference Finals. The Rockets have a ton of expiring deals for guys who are not in the rotation and a GM in Daryl Morey who like Ainge is unafraid to shake things up. The Rockets also have the Knicks 2012 No. 1 pick. The deal for Pierce works if Houston gives up Hasheem Thabeet, Jonny Flynn, Terrence Williams, Chandler Parsons, Chase Budinger and the Knicks No. 1 pick. The Rockets are not giving up much, except their ability to compete in the free agent market in the summer of 2012. That did not look very promising for the Rockets, so they take Pierce instead. Why do the Celtics do it? Clear massive additional cap space in the summer of 2012, so the Celtics could sign two max-contract players. (Are you listening Dwight and Deron?) The Celtics also get a mid-range 2012 no. 1 pick and two serviceable young rotation caliber 3s in Parsons and Budinger.