Danny Ainge can only chuckle when asked about the latest round of rumors involving the Celtics, who are reportedly "likely" to buy out Paul Pierce's contract for $5 million.

"Nothing surprises me," Ainge told CSNNE.com. "I'll just let speculation continue."

While no decision on Pierce's future has been made yet, how Ainge handles Pierce's situation may have an impact on whether Kevin Garnett returns to Boston for a 19th NBA season, decides to retire, or urges the C's to trade him to a contender which would force him to lift his no-trade clause.

During All-Star weekend, Garnett was emphatic that he had no plans to waive his no-trade clause.

"I bleed green. I die green," Garnett said at the time. "But it is a business. Trades are a part of this league. Every year, you're going to hear things."

But when pressed about the likelihood of him being traded Garnett said, "If I were y'all, I wouldn't read too much into it."

The only noteworthy changes since that time are that Garnett is a year older and the Celtics are seemingly more motivated than previous years to trade Pierce who is due $15.3 million this season if he is not bought out by June 30.

After the Celtics' season-ending loss to the Knicks earlier this month, Garnett alluded to his return being somewhat tied into what the Celtics decide to do with Pierce.

"One of the big reasons I came here was because of Paul," Garnett said after the C's 88-80 defeat in Game 6 with New York. "I'll be honest, I'll be lying to you if I said Paul didn't play into that."