Mar 30, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce (34) smiles with Rajon Rondo (9) during the first quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center. The Celtics defeated the Timberwolves 100-79. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE
Paul Pierce, the greatest Celtic since Larry Bird, has spent 14 years in green, going on 15 this season. On a few occasions this summer Pierce has mentioned the idea of becoming a free agent, testing the waters, doing something he’s never experienced as a player. But I have a few good reasons as to why he will remain a Celtic until he retires, despite what he says.
Being A Free Agent For The First Time
Pierce said during the summer that he wanted to become a free agent, most likely this season by opting out of his current contract. To me this was him hinting at heading elsewhere to be that final piece for a team that is on the cusp of an NBA Championship. But here is why that doesn’t sound plausible and this is just another one of those things Pierce says now and again.
In the 14 years of watching him play, he has at times said stuff that just makes me scratch my head. After winning the title in 2008, he went on a late night show saying that he is the greatest player in the NBA. As much as I want to believe that, he obviously isn’t. Usually stuff like this makes me think he just wants to stay relevant, even in the offseason.
Other than the stuff he does off the court, its on the court that I think his decision, if it should ever arise, will be made. Pierce and Kevin Garnett have become more than just teammates, the’ve become friends off the court, and on the court you can see that they have each other’s backs. In an interview a few days ago, KG said that he wanted to retire a Celtic. What better way is there to retire, than to retire with one of your closest friends, and the teammate that helped you win your first ring?
To me, Pierce would be foolish to walk away from the city and team that has embraced him, and as a Celtics fan, I may look at him differently, but not in a negative way. The idea of Pierce retiring a Celtic just adds on to the teams legacy, following in the footsteps of Larry Bird and Bill Russell. In this era, how many players have stuck with the same team their entire careers? His retirement in Boston is great for his image, and it shows that there really are still players who are loyal to their teams.
The Trade Scenario
You heard it here Celtics fans, Pierce will never be traded by Boston. Besides the fact that I don’t think Danny Ainge has the courage to pull of such a deal, since when would the Celtics organization trade their cornerstone and face of the franchise? Boston never traded Bill Russell or Larry Bird, and I don’t see anything different regarding Paul Pierce.
You can point to last season with all the trade rumors in the middle of the season, but did you really believe there was any backbone to those rumors? Because Danny Ainge didn’t pull the trigger last season, I personally don’t think he’ll do any major moves this season, just minor tweaks and adjustments. The untouchables are the Big Three, I just don’t see them getting moved.
With KG signed on for three years, the Celtics are going to make one last run. Don’t be surprised if at the end of the season Pierce plays the free agency card, but I think he’ll opt in for his last year.
What Are the Benefits to Retiring In Boston?
The Celtics are a first class organization, always have been and always will be thanks to our current owners. They’ve been known to take care of their own. Danny Ainge is the Director of Basketball Operations, Tommy Heinsohn is a local color analyst for the Celtics, Cedric Maxwell co hosts the Celtics games on the radio, and I could go on with multiple former Celtics players being part of the team.
I don’t know what job they’ll give Pierce when he retires, but he will be a Celtic for life. Whether he is relaxing, enjoying retirement somewhere in a warm climate, or part of the Celtics front office.