NBA Trade Rumors: Paul Pierce Deserves to Retire with Boston Celtics

Kelly Scaletta@@KellyScalettaFeatured ColumnistJanuary 24, 2012

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 16:  Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics tries to take a shot as Nazr Mohammed #8 of the Oklahoma City Thunder defends on January 16, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. 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.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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The Boston Celtics have a history of great players, but the real beauty of the Celtics is how many of those great players never donned another uniform. Paul Pierce deserves to be one of them.

When Danny Ainge talks about trading him, it's understandable why Celtics fans get ruffled. 

Bill Russell wore a Celtics uni for every one of his 963 games as a pro. Larry Bird suited up every game of his 897-game career in Boston green. Kevin McHale played 971 games for Boston and none for anyone else. 

Only John Havlicek played his entire career with the Boston Celtics and played more than Paul Pierce's 977 games. Pierce has a long way to go to catch Havlicek's 1,270 games, but it's not impossible. If he can play out this season and three more years, Pierce could break Havlicek's club record. 

He is seventh in team history in rebounds, fifth in assists and their third all-time leading scorer, less than a hundred behind Bird. If he can maintain an average of about 17-18 points per game, he could pass up Havlicek as the Celtics all-time leading scorer as well. 

Granted, with the kind of history the Celtics have, greatness isn't measured by stats, nor is it measured by whether you've won a ring—it's measured by how many rings you've won.

Still, Pierce does have one, and he's arguably one of the top five players in their history. After Bird, Russell, Havliceck and Cousey, it's hard to say any player is clearly ahead of him. 

He was the Finals MVP when they won, and he's been one to bleed green. He is, perhaps surprisingly to some, very much in the conversation for one of the five greatest Celtics in team history. For most clubs, that's not much to say. For a franchise that's had 28 Hall of Famers, that's quite a statement. 

He's given his career to the Celtics. The Celtics should do right and keep him there unless he asks to be traded.

He's earned the right to retire in the uniform that he's given his best to. 


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