One of the most difficult things to do as a sports fan or fan of an individual team is to say goodbye to a beloved player. Same goes for life in general, you get to know someone and suddenly they’re just gone. When you watch a player for as long as I’ve watched you in my life, you start to feel some sort of attachment towards said player. You’ve easily been my favorite Celtic I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching and this season felt like an extended goodbye.
Simply put, age is a bitch. Everyone goes through it and the old saying that “Father time is undefeated” held true this year for you as much as you and everyone of your fans would hate to admit it. Your jumper looked flat and looked like it had lost a significant amount of arc and no offense but your drives to the rim were very hard to watch. You had your worst FG%(.436) since the 06-07(a tank year) and if we exclude that year it would’ve been your worst since the 03-04 season. Consistency was definitely a problem but also an unfair burden was placed on you at the end of the season
When Rondo went down, it was basically assumed that you would fufill the “Point Forward” role and take over ball handling responsibilities but obviously the physical wear and tear of using such a high % of the teams possessions took a toll on your body(You used 27.4% of the Celtics’ possessions, your 2nd highest mark since the 06-07 season. Your TS% was the worst it’s ever been since 03-04 and your penchant as a killer in clutch time took a hit as well. The former could just be a product of the lack of creativity when it came to your clutch time play sets(step back iso jumper at the elbow!).
Not much changed in the playoffs as your TS% and FG% were the worst they’ve ever been since the 03-04 season. It was a tough matchup as for much of the series you were being guarded by a tenacious and athletic defender in Iman Shumpert.
Now that the season is over questions have arised over the possibility of you not being in Green anymore. But before I get into that I just have to say that from a sentimental standpoint, I can’t imagine a realm in which you’re wearing a jersey that doesn’t feature the signature green and white. You’ve already etched you’re name into Celtic lore(and the record books) and in my opinion have a rightful spot atop the Mount Rushmore of Celtic Greats. You loyally stuck with a dying franchise only to see it reborn from your own blood, sweat and tears. For that I can definitely say that the Celtic fanbase is extremely grateful for all of the great memories you gave us.
Now that the lovey dovey crap is over lets get into the technical details. According to the details of your contract, only $4 million of your $15 million salary is guaranteed. Such a clause states that Danny Ainge(if he sees fit) can buy you out of the rest of your contract effectively ending your time as a Celtic. Now I believe Danny has until June 30th to make a decision, a decision that word has it you most likely are already sure of. He could also trade you and get something back if you still wish to play but something tells me that both parties would rather see you retire in Green.
Goodbyes are a funny concept. Most times when saying goodbye, you’re most likely ending a relationship with someone or simply just that you won’t see them for an extended period of time or permanently. In this case we’re ending not only a relationship between a player and a franchise but a legacy. A legacy that has spanned 15 years and has seen many trying times. If Danny does decide to waive you I hope you can remain in some sort of affiliation with the team whether it be in the front office or the sidelines(probably not). Just know what ever path in life you choose to take or whatever team you chose to play for be it for your love of the game or your family you have the support of the Celtic faithful(But whatever you do Paul just don’t go to LA).