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Danny Ainge 'Expects' Celtics to Retire Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett's Numbers

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 18: Paul Pierce #34, Kevin Garnett #5 and Ray Allen #20 of the Boston Celtics during the game against the Philadelphia 76ers in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 18, 2012 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2012 NBAE   (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistJanuary 30, 2014

It's quite an honor to have your jersey retired by the Boston Celtics, and now the legendary franchise might be adding two more numbers to the hallowed rafters of the Boston Garden. 

The C's have 23 retired or honored numbers, according to Basketball-Reference, including "LOSCY" (for Jim Loscutoff, whose number was retired but kept alive for Dave Cowens) and "Mic" (for the legendary announcer Johnny Most). 

BOSTON - 1991:  Dennis Johnson #3 of the Boston Celtics has his jersey risen to the rafters during his jersey retirement ceremony in 1991 at the Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges that, by downloading and or
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The grand total is impressive, but so too is getting to boast the jerseys of Robert Parish (No. 00), Bill Russell (No. 6), Bob Cousy (No. 14), John Havlicek (No. 17), Kevin McHale (No. 32) and Larry Bird (No. 33). 

If general manager Danny Ainge is to be believed, Paul Pierce (No. 34) and Kevin Garnett (No. 5) are soon going to be added to the rafters. 

Before too long, the Celtics are going to have to require their players to wear letters instead of numbers on their jerseys. The pickings are slim with this many digits and combinations of digits barred from selection, so perhaps that's why Ray Allen's No. 20 jersey isn't going to be retired. 

After all, that would mean no one could wear a jersey from 14 through 25 at any point in the future. 

It's either that or the fact that Allen ditched the Celtics for the Miami Heat, then went on to win a title with the rivals of Pierce and Garnett. 

As Sean Deveney of SportingNews.com wrote after Allen opened his 2012-13 campaign against his old team, "There is no doubt about what Allen’s departure from the Celtics to the Heat has accomplished—it’s taken two teams that already have a distinct distaste for each other and ratcheted up the animosity."

There was also this: 

It's pretty clear Allen burned some bridges with the C's, but is that enough to prevent his number from being retired by the franchise?

If K.G.'s No. 5 jersey belongs in the rafters after just six seasons and five All-Star appearances with the team, it's tough to argue that Allen's No. 20 doesn't after five seasons and three All-Star selections. 

He was an integral part in bringing the Larry O'Brien Trophy back to Beantown after all. 

But hey, at least there's no arguing about whether Pierce deserves the honor. Even though he's finishing his career with the Brooklyn Nets (barring an unforeseen trade to another team), "The Truth" may as well be a lifelong Celtic. 

If any of the three deserve to be honored by the franchise, it's Pierce. No doubt about it. 

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