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Paul Pierce Announces He Will Retire as Member of Celtics Next Season

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistOctober 12, 2016

September 26, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA;  Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul Pierce (34) speaks during media day at Clipper Training Facility in Playa Vista. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul Pierce plans to end his NBA career next summer as a member of the franchise he spent the first 15 years of his career with.  

Per Legion Hoops and Justin Termine of SiriusXM NBA Radio, Pierce said Wednesday he will sign with the Boston Celtics next summer and retire, adding he owes it to himself and the fans to go out that way. 

Pierce's return to the NBA for the 2016-17 season wasn't certain for much of the offseason. He finally announced in a September article on The Players' Tribune that he'd be coming back to the Los Angels Clippers for a 19th and final season:

Just like any difficult decision, I think you've got to be at peace with yourself. I'm at peace with retiring, but I've got one more ride left. One more season. One more opportunity.

[...]

After 18 NBA years, it's hard to believe I'll be playing in each arena for the last time. So I'm going to enjoy every practice, every bus ride, every team dinner, every time running out through the tunnel. I'm going to do my part to give us a shot at the ultimate goal.

Pierce has bounced around between the Clippers, Brooklyn Nets and Washington Wizards since 2013, but he made himself into a star and potential Hall of Famer as a member of the Celtics from 1998-2013. 

In 15 seasons with the Celtics, Pierce averaged 21.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists. He was named to the All-Star team 10 times during those 15 years, won an NBA championship and earned NBA Finals MVP honors in 2008. 

Per Basketball-Reference.com, Pierce ranks in the top three in Celtics' history in games played (1,102), field goals made (7,882), three-pointers made (1,823) and sits fifth in player efficiency rating (20.6).

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Despite the Celtics' rich tradition, which includes 21 conference titles, 21 retired numbers and 17 NBA titles, Pierce's place in franchise history is right near the top. It's only fitting that he ends his NBA career in the green and white jersey Boston fans used to wear every night for more than a decade. 

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