In what has been a quiet offseason from the signed veterans of the Celtics’ roster, captain Paul Pierce was the first to break the silence during a video interview with Molly McGrath of Celtics.com. The wide-ranging sitdown covered everything from how his knee is recovering, his thoughts on Ray Allen’s decision to depart to Miami, as well as encouraging thoughts about the job Danny Ainge has done this offseason. Here are a few of the highlight quotes from the sitdown:
On his knee injury: “The knee is a lot better. It’s not completely healed, but I figure I’m about 90 percent now, so I’ve been doing a lot to strengthen it, so I can come back a stronger player. It really hampered me, I thought, the last 10-15 games of the year. I couldn’t explode like I wanted to. But everybody was hurt at that point of the year. Everybody was dealing with nagging injuries. That’s why I didn’t really stress on it too much in the playoffs, because I know everyone is dealing with injuries and that’s just another excuse.”
On Ray Allen leaving for Miami: “It was his choice, but it was great playing with him. Ray made the best decision for him. That’s what it is all about. You get in these situations, you become a free agent, and you make a decision based on what’s best for you and your family. He’ll always be a brother for me. Without him, I probably would haven’t have a championship ring right now. So the things he was able to do for this organization, will never be forgotten.”
On what it will be like playing Allen on opening night and has he talked to Ray? “It’s going to be a little weird playing him. We’ve traded a couple texts, I’m a little bitter he went to Miami, but he’s still a brother of mine.”
Who is Paul most excited to play with out of the new additions? Find out after the jump
On Being Excited to play with Jason Terry: “I’ve always been a big fan of Jason Terry, playing against him in college for a couple years, then watching his NBA career flourish over the years. From winning a championship to just bringing that element to our ball club now — he’s one of best sixth men all-time to play the game. That’s something we were lacking a year ago, and that was only due to injuries, so hopefully he can bring that consistency, that championship experience, so we can get back to where we were a few years ago.”
On the Celtics offseason: “I thought Danny did a good job of trying to replace Ray Allen. As you know Ray Allen went off to Miami, on his choice, but he was a great teammate, it was fun playing with him. But I think the guys coming in here, Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, trying to get a healthy Jeff Green, even some of our rookies. I think we’ve added a lot more depth, and it’s going to take a lot of pressure off me this upcoming season.”
A few parting thoughts on the must-see interview.
1) Very classy comments from Pierce about Ray. This is likely just the beginning from what will be a ground swell of public support for Allen from his former teammates and organization, as they universally take the high road out of what could have been an ugly divorce.
Privately however, I can only imagine that Allen’s departure adds a little extra jump in the step for Pierce, Garnett, Doc, and probably especially Rajon Rondo for the upcoming season to prove to their former teammate he made a mistake in jumping ship to the enemy. If the reports are true that Allen was a bit of a diva in the locker room, you can bet these guys will be chomping at the bit to make a statement opening night in South Beach.
2) I was speaking with John Karalis from Redsarmy.com earlier today and we discussed how incredible it was to see Pierce resigned to the fact of potentially being traded if Kevin Garnett did not return this offseason. Having played under Ainge for eight seasons now, even he knows how Danny operates with his trade chips and despite his career-long devotion to the C’s, Pierce heard the trade rumors last year loud and clear and was ready for the inevitable if KG hung it up. Now though, you have to think Pierce’s career will finish in green. I, for one, am pleased with that development.