Earlier this offseason, Pierce alluded to the possibility of testing the waters of NBA free agency when his current contract expires. Pierce has two years left on his deal, but the last year is a team option.
Pierce could become a free agent next summer if the Celtics decide not to pay him the $15.3 million they would owe him in 2014.
It's anyone's guess as to where Pierce could end up if that happens. What's more clear, though, is which jerseys Celtics fans would hate to see emblazoned with Pierce's No. 34.
The rivalry between the Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers has cooled in recent years. Even still, seeing Pierce clad in blue and red would be difficult to stomach.
The 76ers are a promising young team that, despite struggling down the stretch, gave the Celtics their best shot in last year's Eastern Conference Semifinals. Philadelphia ran Boston ragged over the course of the series, exploiting the Celtics' slow lineup and limited depth.
Pierce penetrating and kicking out to 76ers point guard Jrue Holiday and playing the pick-and-roll with newly acquired center Andrew Bynum is a scary thought.
However, the root of Celtics fans' anguish over such a situation is rooted in the intense rivalry that took place between the two teams during the 1980s. Back then, it was Larry Bird vs. Julius Irving.
If Pierce goes to Philly? Well, then you'll have Pierce vs. Rajon Rondo.
Celtics fans don't want to see that. It would just be too awkward to watch.
Celtics fans would also feel like they had been slapped in the face if Pierce joined the New York Knicks. Though the Knicks have been a far cry from contention for over a decade, they've given the Celtics some hard fought battles on the court.
We all know that Paul Pierce loves to play under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden, but how would Celtics fans feel if he played there 41 times a year?
Can you picture Pierce playing alongside Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire? Or how about Spike Lee running out onto the court and leaping into Pierce's arms after The Truth hits a game-winner...against the Celtics?
I can't. And I don't want to.
Even worse than seeing Pierce go to the Knicks would be if he elected to join the Brooklyn Nets.
The Celtics have had a stronghold on the Atlantic Division for five seasons, and the Nets, led by Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez, will threaten to take that honor away from them over the next few seasons. Pierce contributing to the dethroning of the team he led to that same position would pour salt into the wound.
That's definitely a stinging sensation Celtics fans wouldn't want to endure.
I think we all saw this one coming. The impending disgust that would fill the hearts of Celtics Nation if Pierce joined Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash and the Los Angeles Lakers is unfathomable.
The history between these teams is well-documented. Celtics-Lakers is the original NBA rivalry, a rivalry that has spanned over five decades and is one of the most storied rivalries in all of sports.
There's no way to downplay the magnitude of Pierce leaving to play in his home state of California, not after the indelible legacy he has built over the course of his career with the Celtics. Such a move would evoke such a powerful response from Celtics fans, rendering them speechless and confused.
Baylor vs. Russell. West vs. Havlicek. Bird vs. Magic. Kareem vs. Parish. Pierce vs. Bryant.
But Pierce and Bryant playing side-by-side?
Is anyone else's head starting to hurt?
I spurned the Lakers at No. 1 in favor of the Miami Heat, mainly because a lineup of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce would crush our spirits. After the unbridled chaos of "The Decision" two years ago, The Truth taking his talents to South Beach would set Celtics Nation—and the NBA—ablaze.
LeBron James and the Heat, fresh off winning their first NBA title, poached Ray Allen from the Celtics as their first order of business. They did this after defeating Boston in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals in a grueling seven-game series.
Talk about insult to injury.
Losing Allen is tough enough. But seeing Pierce win a championship as a member of the Miami Heat would be even more heart-wrenching.
It's sickening to think about, but you can't but help but wonder if Pierce would consider joining King James and his army of perennial All-Stars.