There is been almost an unhealthy amount of trade speculation over the past week and a half, as Boston’s long-term landscape seemingly changed with the season ending injury to Rajon Rondo combined with an underwhelming first half of the season. Paul Pierce spoke about his desire to retire as a Celtic last week, and I wrote last Tuesday that the team should give him that right, if he wants to stay.
For now though, the Celtics are playing some of their best basketball of the season in the ultimate underdog role in what is coming as a pretty convincing attempt to Ainge let this core have another ride into the postseason. That would inevitable lead to another next year for Pierce and KG in Boston once Rondo is recovered. In a terrific piece from Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald Pierce gets more candid than ever about the team’s possibilities moving forward and what his options are for the future. What is clear is that undoubtedly wants to stay here, but that’s with the understanding that the team continues an honest effort to remain at least an outside contender:
“I mean, I really don’t want to be part of a rebuilding situation again. I just think at this point in time that’s something that would wear on me too much mentally that I don’t know what decision I may make if I have to. I may retire if I have to. You know, that’s something that’s a year-end process, especially given the situation that we have right now.”
According to Pierce, his call will be dictated by the direction the Celtics take moving forward. And while he has stated strongly that he would like to end his career with the club, he opened the door wide to the possibility he could finish elsewhere.
“It’s all on what they plan on doing,” said Pierce. “If they try to go into a rebuild mode, then, you know, I don’t know if I want to be a part of that. But that’s up to them and what they need to do. I don’t want to go out on a rebuild mode.
“I want an opportunity to at least try to win another championship, simple and plain. And if that’s not going to be here — if that’s going to be somewhere else — so be it. That’s what it has to be. I mean, even the greatest players played for other franchises.”
Kevin Garnett is on the same page as far as what the future complexion of this team looks like. Like Pierce, KG has been playing terrific basketball during this recent streak, making a strong statement to Ainge to keep everything in place with a squad with plenty of playoff-tested talent that could make some noise. Bulpett questioned KG about what his preference was with this team:
“You’re looking at it,” he said after a laugh. “You’re looking at it. I didn’t make this. I didn’t start all this.”
When it was noted again that he is in control, Garnett said, “I’m leaving the liaison to what people think this is. I know my cards. I know my cards. I know the hand I’m holding.”
The fact remains with every win at this point before the trade deadline, I would argue helps strengthen the case to keep this group together. And with the way these guys are playing right now, and the lack of appealing rebuilding options out there that’s not a bad thing at all in my estimation.