Paul Pierce is one of the greatest Celtics of all time. Once he decides to ride off into the sunset and end his NBA career, he will most definitely have his number hanging in the rafters of the Boston Garden.
"The Truth" will enter his fifteenth season as a member of the C's this year and is under contract through the 2012-13 season, with a team option for 2013-14.
Celtics management will most likely pick up the option if Pierce remains healthy, just because he is still an elite player offensively.
He averaged 19.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists last season and has been one of the veteran leaders of this roster.
He told the Boston Globe this when asked about his contract situation:
“I think I am going to play this one out. I want to see what it feels like to be a free agent for once in my life. I think I am going to play this one out. A lot can change in two years. My body [may not] be where I want it to be, I could retire, a lot of things could happen. I love the game. I made as much money as I possibly can. It’s about winning a championship and if I feel like it’s the right thing to do, maybe so [come back]. If I solidify my third year, maybe they opt out, so it’s about keeping your options open.”
The words that will likely stick out for any Celtics fan are "I want to see what it feels like to be a free agent for once in my life."
While this quote doesn't say that Pierce will leave Boston, it does give some credence to the fact that he might leave.
All along, I have thought that "The Truth" would finish out his NBA career in Boston, no matter the direction the team was heading in.
Considering that he did not demand a trade after the horrendous 2006-07 season, I felt like he was a lock no matter what.
However, there are some troubling signs of a possible Pierce departure. Anytime a player hints at free agency, it is worrisome—especially if he is the leading scorer on the team.
The other possibility is that he might retire after his contract ends—which is a realistic scenario, considering he would be 37 at the beginning of the 2014-15 season.
As Pierce did say, he has made a lot of money and it is about winning a championship, both of which I agree with. If Boston is not a contender, will Pierce stay?
It's an intriguing question, and one worth thinking about over the next year. If this team flounders this season, falling in the first or second round of the playoffs, maybe it is time to let go of the last of the "Big 3."
Unfortunately for Boston, they might be forced into rebuilding if Pierce decides to leave town.