NBA Rumors: Paul Pierce To Retire As A Celtic Next Week?
Paul Pierce, one of the greatest small forwards in history, is about to sign a one-day contract with the Boston Celtics and call it quits next week, per sources close to the Los Angeles Clippers.Advertisement
Pierce, who was drafted by the Boston Celtics in 1998, was part of the ‘Big 3’ with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, which won the 2008 NBA championship. Pierce was the finals MVP during that title run.
For most of the summer, Pierce has reiterated his desire to return for his 19th season. However, coach Doc Rivers said Monday that Pierce is torn apart about his future and could be inclining towards retirement.
Paul Pierce to join Kobe, Duncan?
This offseason saw Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant, arguably two of the top-10 greatest players in history, hang up the boots. It’s likely that Pierce and Garnett follow suit.
“Depends on the day I talk to him (Pierce). Paul has had the summer, he’s gone back and forth (about his decision). I think he has a right to do that. I really do,” Rivers said during a fundraiser event at Boston’s TD Garden.
Rivers was the coach of Boston’s 2008 championship team and was the primary reason for Pierce joining the Clippers. Though Pierce signed a three-,year $10.5 million contract last summer, few expected the forward to play all three years.
According to Rivers, the Clippers’ disappointing 2015-16 campaign, which ended with a first round playoff exit, could influence Pierce’s decision.
“Paul didn’t have the best year last year. I don’t think he wants to go out that way. So I think that’s why he’s working to try to come back. But he still may change his mind next week. So we just have to wait. I told him if I see him at training camp, I’m assuming he’s playing,” said Rivers.
Pierce averaged 6.1 points and 2.7 rebounds from 18.1 minutes per game last season.
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To retire a Celtic?
Rivers said that if Pierce decides to quit, he’d encourage him to sign a one-day contract with the Boston Celtics before calling it a day. Amar’e Stoudemire had similarly signed a one-day contract with the New York Knicks before calling it quits earlier in the summer.
“I think it’s important (that Pierce reties a Celtic). I think we have to do that. And I think we will. [Celtics president of basketball operations] Danny [Ainge] and [assistant general manager] Mike [Zarren], we’ve already talked.
“The day [Pierce] retires, he’s going to retire a Celtic. He has to. Paul’s a Celtic. So when he retires, he’s got to retire as a Celtic. I don’t think anyone disagrees with me,” confirmed Rivers.
It’s likely that Paul Pierce signs that contract with Boston and retires as early as next week.