According to Comcast Sports Net Northeast’s Greg Dickerson, Boston Celtic Small Forward and one of the NBA’s all-time greats, Paul Pierce could very well have played his last game wearing number 34 for the “Cs”. Dickerson was quoted Sunday as saying that “the company that Paul Pierce hangs around in” does not believe that he will back for a 16th season in Beantown, and neither does Pierce, who expects to either be traded or bought out of his contract.
This will definitely ramp up the rumors in Boston about Kevin Garnett, who has long maintained he wants to retire a Celtic – but only if Pierce is there. Garnett does have a no trade clause that he could waive if he chooses to, and reports have been that he would prefer either the Los Angeles Lakers or Los Angeles Clippers because he owns a home in Malibu. Pierce has been linked to the Clippers as well, naturally because he was born in Inglewood, which is just outside of Los Angeles.
From the Celtics’ side of things, a $5 million buyout with Pierce makes sense. He’s at the end of his career and not nearly effective as he once was. It was evident in the first round loss against the New York Knicks that his legs have left him, and that he can’t get elevation on his jump shot like he used to. He was never an outstanding athlete, instead relying on his craftiness to get where he wanted on the court to get his shots up – a “professional scorer” as Celtic Head Coach Doc Rivers has called him. But some of the juice seems to be gone, and playing 35-40 minutes a night doesn’t help – although he could still be an effective role player on a contending team. The Celtics can buy him out though and move forward with emerging star Jeff Green as their new small forward.
The big question now will be what happens with Garnett and how Pierce’s apparent departure would affect his situation. Will Garnett retire, stay put, or follow Pierce to maybe the sandy beaches of Los Angeles?
We’ll just have to wait and see on that.