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Is Paul Pierce's future limited to Brooklyn Nets ... or Los Angeles Clippers

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Shortly after midnight on July 1, Nets executives called Paul Pierce to tell him they wanted him back.  They were not alone. At 12:26 a.m. Marc Stein tweeted that interest was wide and deep.

In the past few days, the Clippers interest has been all the rage, with ESPN saying LA has offered a combination of Matt Barnes, Jared Dudley and Reggie Bullock in a proposed sign-and-trade and Yahoo! suggesting the Nets countered by asking for J.J. Redick or first round picks (plural).

Are the other teams' interest dead? Hardly, judging from Tim MacMahon's article on ESPN DFW Sunday laying out reasons why the Mavs should go after Pierce.

"A case can be made that signing "The Truth" to a short-term deal is the best realistic scenario for the Mavs to upgrade at small forward," MacMahon writes. Of course, this option would only be relevant if the Mavs' "miracle" quests for  LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony fall apart.

That, in fact, is what league sources expect: Pierce will become a back-up plan for teams like the Mavs and Bulls once the LeBron and Melo wooing ends. And they'll have all that cap space they saved for the stars sitting there. No need, for any team on that list, other than the Clippers, to use a sign-and-trade.

"The price for Pierce, which figures to be north of the midlevel exception but significantly south of what Ariza and Deng are asking for, would likely leave the Mavs enough room to re-sign Carter as the sixth man and fill out the rotation," adds MacMahon.

So once the air clears, expect a lot more interest in Pierce than there is now.