On July 15 of 2010, then Boston Celtics veteran Paul Pierce sent out this tweet:
Yep its official gonna retire a celtic
— Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) July 15, 2010
Little did he know that just under three years later, the Celtics would shake up the NBA landscape by sending Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets in a trade that was agreed to on the night of the 2013 NBA Draft.
When the Nets first introduced Pierce, Garnett and Terry in a press conference, there was an obvious difference in the reaction and demeanor in Pierce and the other two former Celtics. Garnett and Terry seemed grateful to be a part of the highly talented roster that the Nets are building, but Pierce seemed shell-shocked and, more or less, like he couldn’t believe he was no longer going to wear Celtics’ green.
Pierce’s reaction alone at the presser should have raised a few red flags for Brooklyn, but now those flags should be waiving wildly. According to reports from ESPN, Pierce has “hinted” that he will not travel with the Nets to Boston on Oct. 23 to play a preseason game, but will rather wait until the two teams meet in the regular season.
Part of Pierce’s reasoning is probably that he wants to save his body and that he wants to wait to return to Boston in front of a full house in a game that actually matters. However, when you read between the lines, it also seems a little bit like Pierce is reluctant to return to Boston because he still hasn’t come to terms with the trade.
When Pierce sent out that tweet in 2010, he was sharing a sentiment that many fans did as well. Pierce’s name is synonymous with the Celtics over the past decade and a half. Even in the years when Boston was one of the worst teams in the league and when they were tanking, Pierce weathered the storm and stuck with that team. As deeply engrained as Pierce is with the Celtics, so are the Celtics in Pierce.
Everything could go smoothly for Pierce with the Nets. He may indeed just want to wait until a bigger moment in the regular season to return to Boston. However, this also could be another troubling sign that he doesn’t want to be in Brooklyn. Given what he’s said and how he’s acted since the trade, it can’t be ruled out at this point.