Post-game Reactions

The question has been asked several times of Paul Pierce in the latter stages of his career: “Do you want to retire as a member of the Celtics?” Since Kevin Garnett arrived in town, the answer has always been an unequivocal yes.

With the circumstances around the team’s current and future outlook changing dramatically thanks to Rajon Rondo’s torn ACL, the question has boiled to the surface again for Pierce. Despite the fact the C’s won’t be seriously contending for an NBA championship without their All-Star point guard this year, would Boston’s captain still like to finish out his career in green?

“I want to retire as a Celtic,” Pierce said today at practice when asked. “That’s been my longtime goal. But it’s not in my control. The organization, they make their decisions. But that’s something I’ve desired since being here.”

This sentiment is more important than you might think. We all know Danny Ainge is going to explore the market for Pierce over the upcoming weeks. He has to, based on the circumstances surrounding this team’s roster and it’s future . The fact is though, once Garnett decided to return this offseason, Ainge constructed this roster to compete not just for this season, but the proceeding couple years as well, by giving KG (and other veteran free agents) three and four year deals. 

The pieces have not meshed this year obviously, moving Boston from being a fringe contender to not even being considered a serious threat to advance outside the second round of the postseason (if, that). The fact remains though. Garnett is probably not going anywhere to chase a ring (hence the no-trade clause) and he’s likely going to be vocal in not wanting Pierce to go anywhere as well. The team’s ownership clearly wants to let Pierce finish out his run here as well and have made it known as such in various interviews of the year, including one with Forbes earlier this month.

Ainge has made it known he’s not one for sentimentality, which I understand and respect but in the case of Pierce, sentimentality and other factors will be in play when deciding if Pierce should be dealt. Not just for the chain effect it will have on guys like Garnett, but for business and the team’s fanbase.

Boston fans love Pierce, and face it, without him this team will be at the start of what will be a long and painful rebuild, potentially with an unhappy Garnett still in place who may agreed to be shipped out if Paul is gone as well. Pierce is a valuable commidity but is still of value as a piece of this team on the floor as he is off of it. In terms of the long-term, barring finding teams willing to take on the glut of bad deals Ainge signed this offseason, the C’s won’t be capable of doing much rebuilding beyond salary dumps for the next two seasons as is, leading to some long dreary winters at the Garden.

Pierce shouldn’t have to be a part of that rebuilding process if he doesn’t want to be over the next year or two. If he does though, I feel like he’s earned that right. Without him and Garnett, the C’s won’t be relevant again for a long time. With a few tweaks and a lot of luck, they could be semi-relevant again in the Eastern Conference next year with their current core once Rondo returns.

If Pierce is dealt though, that chance vanishes and the team is sentenced to mediocrity (or worse) for years to come. That mediocrity is probably destined either way for the team if they just to stay the course with their veterans, but the fans will enjoy rooting for Boston (and come out to the Garden) much more if Pierce is a part of that group.

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Brian Robb

Brian Robb co-founded CelticsHub in 2009 and is the currently editor-in-chief. He is a producer and reporter at 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston and also contributes to Boston.com and Bleacher Report among other outlets.
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  • Emmy J

    Hey Larry please get on your cell and call Danny. Tell him not to make a dumb move and trade Paul Pierce. That will be a big mistake! PP wants to remain and retire a Celtic and Danny Ainge should honor and respect that! I know his job is to do what is to the best interest of the team but trading PP will not solve that problem. PP is still a very productive player, and with the right chemistry in place with the current roster the Celts will be fine. Danny, wait and see if the Celts can survive without RR until the trade deadline.


      emmy ur crazy paul is old and slow its time for him to go this is a business do you wanna win or worry about pp feelings he is horrible this year ITS ABOUT WINNING NOT ANYONES FIILLINGS

      • Kel

        for the players, yes its all about winning. but when youre a fan of a franchise its about a whole lot more than winning. its about history, its about the city, and sticking with your guys through the tough times. paul pierce is a lifelong celtic and put his time in when the team was struggling before garnett came. he has a genuine love for the city and the fans, and it would suck to trade him away for some young stud who doesnt want to be in boston. how many fans get to root for a superstar for that stars whole career cause they stuck with their city? i for one don't want to be robbed of seeing pierce end his career in green. how many players get to do that in todays nba? sometimes i feel like the only one who remembers how bad this team was in the 90's and most of the last decade. do you really want to ship pierce cause this team wont compete for the title for the first time in 5 years?

        • James Patrick

          Couldn't have put it better. We had some painful years and though there was a glimmer of hope during the Jim O'Brien era, it didn't last long. And through it all, Pierce held it together. If KG has a no trade claus, Pierce wants to retire a Celtic, why would we betray that loyalty? Rebuilding in inevitable, but it's not time yet. Not like this.

      • Anonymous

        UPRIGHT JB, maybe you should learn to spell first huh? "feelings" not feelings you fool.

      • James Patrick

        This is the most idiotic thing i've ever read at Celtics Hub. You clearly don't understand Celtic Pride. Go root for the Lakers. You'll enjoy it more. You only have to follow them when they're winning. lol

    • Eric


  • Fabio

    Pierce is not going anywhere. thats the TRUTH!

    • The Cardinal

      The players are human too, and they watch how each organization treats it's stars and long time players. If an organization is willing to trade a future HOF'er who wants to stay, then that organization will have a difficult time attracting top caliber free agents because other players will say "if they disrespected <fill in the blank>, they'll disrespect me." Any GM knows this (although ownership may not give a rip).

      You often hear NBA players speaking of "respect," and that perception can play a major role in the minds of the top free agents.

  • Rob

    Uprightjb, Pierce has only slumped for the month of January. So many fairweather “fans” lately. Tell me what positive will come from trading Pierce..? I know this, I along with many others will be pretty upset if Pierce is gone.

    • Phil

      There is potential upside to trading Pierce; you could get a solid asset back, or maybe start the process of unloading the bad contracts that will limit the team the next 3/4 years. If you're sole goal is to put together another contender as soon as possible, you trade Pierce. That's speaking mechanically though, and sentimentality is still a big part of this. Many fans would rather watch Pierce retire as a Celtic at the cost of an extra year or two added onto the rebuild, and there's nothing wrong with that.

  • nfrench88

    Let's pick up IVERSON, lol

    • Anonymous

      what's funny? if AI is wise he could sign with the celts for like 1 year at least just to fill in the PG position and he could sign for lesser wage, but it'd be more than what they'd pay him in China. If he's wise, he better hop on it.

  • bigticket

    lol to every one saying pierce is horrible now. He had a slump, and besides that slump has played pretty damn good basketball. As sad as it is to say it, jeff green and pierce (not including rondo for a few reasons) are the only celtics who can create their own shots. also many people dont seem to understand that the reason that pierce is having this slump is because he is being overworked and is relied upon to carry an offensive load when the rest of the celtics roster is playing inconsistently and it is burning him out. pierce even at his age now is more consistent and clutch than most the other players on the roster. If the celtics are going to trade anyone then trade bass, lee, terry, wilcox, barbosa hell even green (even though i can see his upside) before you even think about touching pierce, bradley, rondo. Pierce and garnett should retire as a celtics and even at their age are better than most of what is out their. i dont see a problem with their gameplay, its the rest of the roster im worried about. Im still trying to ponder why DA loaded up on guards when we have always needed talented bigs to fill the lineup smh.

  • mason

    if paul is traded i will lose my faith in the nba

  • Morpheus

    I don’t know, why not have a poll and see who wants and who doesn’t want to trade Paul.

    If there is a good package available for Paul, you have to seriously consider it.

  • Banner18

    Safe to say I will lose a lot (if not all) credibility in this team if they even consider picking up A.I., Arenas, or Baron Davis. These guys are not on teams for a reason, and good ones at that. Sorry I am not willing watch this team become a New York Jets-esk circus team, Nfrench88. Read reports today on potential interest in Kyle lowry and Tyreke Evans. Again, if these teams are willing to trade these players for Bass,Jet,Barbosa, or wilcox, then Italy defiantly something to look into. Being realistic, these players aren’t valuable trade assets which will keep this team as is. By all means, I think this core is a define contender .

  • KillerGymRat

    I for one don't get any benefit to trading him. A Rudy Gay or comparative player is not going to suddenly make this team a championship contender. And you're not building a franchise around them either. So all you're really doing is setting us up for a second round exit and a terrible draft pick. Hardly an improvement.

    Wouldn't the smarter thing be to focus this season on developing players like Melo, Sully, Bradley, and even Green and be okay with an eigth seed or possibly missing the playoffs entirely. IMO a lottery pick is a much better building block. Even with an eigth seed, the east being so week, the teams record would put us in place for a 15 or 16 pick.

    Let Pierce retire a Celtic and let this season be what it is. The first one in 5 years we won't be in the title hunt.



  • elroz

    They have 4 guards that all can score in varying capacity and all can handle the ball for stretches and especially they can move the ball … they can have a less centralized and more fluid offense w/o Rondo… it could work. Unlike last year, they are not short on players.

    Of course, 2013 pick + Bass + Wilcox + a guard or two (Barbosa and one more) + Melo …these 4-6 pieces could get them

    1. a pointguard that is good enough to start (not sit) and play alongside Bradley and Lee or Terry
    2. a big man to play along KG, Sullinger, Collins …

    K. Lowry would be quite nice at the point + Okafor? Nene? Jefferson? Gortat? as a big man

    but let's see how they do in the next 4-5 games with the "headless" offense, or maybe the 3-headed offense w/o Rondo. For sure they have enough players to play good defense…

  • James Patrick

    CELTIC PRIDE = LOYALTY THROUGH THICK AND THIN!!!! i'd rather lose with Pierce and KG then win a few more with strangers.





    • The Cardinal


  • skeeds

    Still don't get the Pierce trade speculation.
    1. There's just a handful of SF's that could be considered a clear upgrade over the Truth. None of them are tradeable.
    2. Trading him for "talent" also means we're left with a big hole in our lineup. Sure, give PP up for JSmith. (which might be the best possible scenario). Then what? We have no 3 except Green, and he's not dependable. If Ainge makes this kind of move, he's indicating we're blowing the tires off this team and starting rebuilding. I bet this won't sit well with a couple of people.
    3. Barring a trade of ridiculous value, like getting an all-star in return, there will be very strong voices of disagreement from the team if PP is gone, even if KG is ok with it. Which he won't be.
    4. Finally, PP has the upper hand. He can, (and will if it comes to it) threaten retirement. KG can too. And they've got nothing to lose. They've made insane amounts of money and managed it well over the years. If they realize they have no hope for a championship run, they'll walk away.
    5. But seriously, who are you gonna trade for? are there any decent options on the table? Look around guys, most all-star caliber players are in playoff caliber teams. The handful of them not contending, are either hurt, (Wall, Love, Varejao) or too protected by their franchises (Irving). Ainge is not stupid. He's not giving up PP (and the tons of money he brings in) for anybody. He'll need to compensate both in talent and in star power to make it worth it. Rudy Gay ain't gonna cut it.

  • I could of sworn that he said that he wanted to retire overseas playing Euro basketball…

  • check12check

    the idea of moving pierce is pretty much a lose lose lose. 1. we want this man to retire a celtic. there is respect between PP and this franchise and we should honor that. 2. Even though i gripe about pierce a lot i cannot deny he is a winner. I don't see the C's getting value to match pierce. 3. if we move him, how do we plan on plugging the 3 spot? i don't see Green playing 48 minutes a night,. do you?