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Lakers Rumors: Paul Pierce headed to the Lakers in free agency this summer?

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 20: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Western Conference stands with Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics and the Eastern Conference in the 2011 NBA All-Star Game at Staples Center on February 20, 2011.
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 20: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Western Conference stands with Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics and the Eastern Conference in the 2011 NBA All-Star Game at Staples Center on February 20, 2011.
Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers are on the verge of some potentially drastic changes heading into the NBA offseason. The future remains uncertain for the storied franchise with a high pick in the upcoming 2014 NBA draft, a considerable amount of cap space heading into NBA free agency and an aging superstar in Kobe Bryant. Along with all that, Pau Gasol may elect to leave the team in free agency in pursuit of a third championship ring. Another unexpected change could be the team bringing in a former rival as a free agent, according to Marc Stein of ESPN on May 15.

Apparently, Paul Pierce will have a touch decision to make this summer with the veteran forward becoming a free agent with potentially a few options to explore. One of those options could be to head to Los Angeles and sign with the Lakers, according to Stein:

Pierce could also elect to return to Boston as a free agent to set himself up to retire a Celtic, or maybe even sample life back home as a Laker, or pick out another one of the many teams bound to be interested in his veteran know-how. Count on Pierce generating plenty of July buzz no matter what happens with his older buddy.

The one-time NBA champion is a native of Los Angeles and has been linked with the Lakers over the past few years. Although it may be a stretch that the perennial All-Star heads out West, Garnett potentially deciding to retire could steer him to Los Angeles to finish his career back in his hometown.

With Garnett set to earn $12 million with the Brooklyn Nets next season, it may be doubtful at best that he chooses to leave that much money on the table not to return to a team that could be a threat in the Eastern Conference once again next season. If Garnett does choose to retire, Pierce could become a hot commodity on the free agent market with title contenders possibly showing interest in his services along with the Lakers.

A reunion with Doc Rivers in Los Angeles may also be a possibility for Pierce. The Clippers were interested in Pierce before the trade went down sending him to the Nets, but the league prevented Garnett and Pierce being shipped to Los Angeles along with Rivers.