If Carmelo Anthony ends up shunning the Bulls, which remains a possibility regardless of how well the nine-hour meeting went, the Bulls supposedly have several back-up plans in motion, one of which includes soon-to-be 37-year old Paul Pierce.
While many may dislike the idea of adding a player with that kind of mileage (42,000+ minutes and counting) there is logic in using him as a one-year stop gap, even he can't sniff the same level of production as before.
Doug McDermott - He's building his game off Pierce's, and having just one year alongside the veteran, who coincidentally was also never an elite athlete, would drastically improve his mid-range game which is already something he showed a lot of patience with in Creighton's half-court sets. Watching Pierce's footwork, patience, body movement, head fakes, you name it, it will undoubtedly benefit the rookie tremendously, especially when he's had years of practice duplicating his game anyway. The rough edges will be gone, and Pierce could get down to business.
Efficient offense - He might be 37 at the beginning of the season, but if there's one thing Paul Pierce still knows how to be, it's efficient. He hasn't had a poor efficiency season since 2003/2004, also known as Kirk Hinrich's rookie season. In fact, over his last 733 games, Pierce's TS% is at a ridiculous .587 which includes a .590 rate over his previous five seasons. For all the issues in Brooklyn last season, Pierce used just 712 shots, to score 1,010 points. One of the biggest issues with the Bulls offense is a lack of efficiency, and Pierce helps that right off the bat.
Floor stretching - If Chicago's last two drafts were any indication, the Bulls are looking for shooting, preferably shooting that goes in. This doesn't happen a whole lot unless your name is D.J. Augustin or Mike Dunleavy. Pierce would come in and likely break the 2,000th three-point make of his career by late February, undoubtedly bringing with him a reputation as a shooter and one defenses can't leave open. Needless to say, this opens up drives for Derrick Rose, opens up the court in general for the much struggling Jimmy Butler, and even Taj Gibson will benefit greatly from not having to worry about consistent double-teams when he goes down-low. Gibson's offensive improvements were not lost on defenses in the second half of the season, as he less single coverage and more wing players coming over to help, daring the Bulls to beat them from the outside. With Pierce in the fold, now they actually could, which Tom Thibodeau would just love. Speaking of..
Tom Thibodeau - He has a relationship with Pierce, knows his game inside and out from their years in Boston and, unlike Jason Kidd, he wouldn't have to waste time shuffling him in and out for half a season before he found the right way to use him. Thibodeau is not a moneyball coach. He understands the value of the long ball, but if he can get one of the best mid-range players in NBA history into a rhythm, he'll take it and ride it for as long as it works. This sort of goes hand-in-hand with Pierce's game, something Brooklyn never really understood. Pierce is the type of player who gets himself into rhythm by making a few plays with the ball in his hands. The idea of taking turns, which frequently was seen in Brooklyn in large part due to Deron Williams, doesn't maximize Pierce's efforts, and Thibodeau knows that. An added benefit of giving Pierce a few opportunities here and there, will be fresher legs. The Bulls worked harder than anyone in getting a score last year, so they'll take whatever break they can get.
Looking at Pierce's name in a vacuum isn't sexy, nor particularly interesting. The age gap doesn't quite make sense when the core of the team will all be under 30 (barely) and you have to wonder if Pierce will even have enough in the tank to be productive in the post-season.
And yet, it does make sense when you dig a bit deeper. Thibodeau would never run Pierce into the ground, nor will he make him the soul of the offense. Pierce is a means to an end, a one-year learning experience that just coincides with offering him a chance to make the Eastern Conference Finals, or maybe further should the Heat break up, which could happen.
Regardless, Paul Pierce shouldn't be out of bounds.
UPDATE (7/7-'14): Chris Mannix reports Pierce will be looking for a two-year deal worth between $9-10 million annually.