The Boston Celtics are now out of the playoffs, and the future of Paul Pierce is now in question. Whether he will be traded or retire, this may have been the last time Pierce played in a Celtics uniform.
Rumors about Pierce being traded away were swirling back in March before the trade deadline. According to a report by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Pierce was nearly traded away back then. Pierce would’ve been involved in a three-way deal with the Atlanta Hawks and Dallas Mavericks that would have sent Josh Smith to the Celtics and involved several draft picks.
Bleacher Report @BleacherReport
Paul Pierce was almost traded to Dallas in a 3-team trade that involved Josh Smith, according to @WojYahooNBA http://t.co/rkWkat1jj82013-3-8 22:01:00
At 35, Pierce’s future is uncertain with the team. What does seem to be apparent, however, is that he doesn’t plan on retiring.
Gary Washburn, writer for the Boston Globe, reported that Pierce said he has no plans of calling it quits.
gary washburn @GwashburnGlobe
Paul Pierce said at #celtics shootaround he has no plans of retiring after season, will play out final year of contract and determine future2013-5-1 16:00:23
A report by Washburn on Boston.com explained his plans further.
Right now it's year-by-year. I expect to play another year next year and then evaluate after that. I always said I wanted to end my career as a Celtic. But they are the ones (with the decision). I have a year contract for next year but it's not guaranteed so the decision's in their hands. But whatever decision they make, maybe, if they trade me somewhere or I end up somewhere else maybe it could be a situation where I come back for a one-day deal and retire a Celtic.
With Pierce continuing to shoot down retirement rumors, there are also plenty of rumors about this being his last season in Boston, likely via trade.
A report by A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE makes Pierce’s future even more uncertain in Boston. According to the report, Danny Ainge had this to say when asked about Pierce’s future with the team:
What's important to understand, yeah, it's going to be hard for fans and everybody else, but as far as what's doing what's best for the Celtics, it's probably going to be very hard, too. It's not a no-brainer. It's not like you get a 21-year-old All-Star player, or you get the number one pick in the draft [if you let Pierce go]. Those decisions would not be hard, but I have a feeling the decision is going to be very hard, yeah.
Pierce’s own comments about the situation continue to raise questions about his future. In a report by Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com, Pierce said, "The organization is going to do what they're going to do."
Pierce has been a part of the Celtics since 1998, and if he left Boston, it would be as strange as seeing Tom Brady leave the New England Patriots to Boston fans. He has 24,021 points, 7,882 made field goals and 1,823 made three-pointers over his career. He's been on 10 All-Star teams and won an NBA championship in 2008.
With how much Paul Pierce has done for that city, it just seems strange to hear rumors about him leaving and playing somewhere else.
Until anything is official, Celtics fans will continue to root for The Truth.