Boston Celtics Nearly Traded Ray Allen, Paul Pierce At Trade Deadline

BOSTON - MAY 22: (L-R) Ray Allen #20 and Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics smile on the bench against the Orlando Magic at TD Banknorth Garden in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs on May 22, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and the Boston Celtics have been one of the hottest teams in the league since the All-Star break. However, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports wrote in his Wednesday column, it almost never happened.

The Boston Celtic have been one of the hottest teams in basketball since the All-Star break, going from two games under .500 to 10 games over and on the brink of clinching the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. And yet, there was a chance that it never could have happened.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports wrote in his Wednesday morning column that the Celtics actually pulled the trigger on a deal that sent Ray Allen to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for O.J. Mayo and a draft pick. Wojnarowski also writes that the Celtics were close on a deal to trade Paul Pierce to the New Jersey Nets for Mehmet Okur's expiring contract and a pick. Below is an excerpt from Wojnarowski's story, which can be read by clicking here.

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.

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. Celtics general manager Danny Ainge loves the talent in the 2012 NBA draft, but he still gets one more run, one more chance with this group in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Heavy stuff. Allen was angry, as Woj wrote, and Pierce's reaction was not written (although I'm sure he would have been angy, too). It just goes to show how basketball is a business before anything else. Loyalty only goes so far.

For more Boston Celtics coverage, visit our team page and blog, CelticsBlog.

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