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3-on-3: Saying Goodbye to Paul Pierce

1. What is your favorite memory of Paul Pierce with the Celtics?

Brian Robb: Too many to list. There are the obscure regular season game-winners, like the impossible corner 3 against the Wizards back in 2005. The 2002 fourth quarter comeback against the Nets in the conference finals will always rank amongst the best. The Game 7 showdown with LeBron in 2008 has to take the cake though, beating the best in the world, with an assist from Red Auerbach at the free throw line to clinch it.

Brendan Jackson: 2003, Game Four of the Opening Round series against the Indiana Pacers.  My friend Dev and I originally had seats in the 300s against the wall. Dev had just broken his leg a week before, so to accommodate his crutches, the FleetCenter put us up in the Halo. With the 3rd quarter winding down in a hotly-contested, back-and-forth game, Paul Pierce settled in for one of his many career buzzer-beater attempts.  From our vantage point, all you could see was Pierce and Al Harrington trash talking each other and the bottom of the net.  We knew it was going in before anyone else in the building.  Sometimes when I want to feel that level of elation again, I watch this video:

Michael Pina: The most emotional I’ve ever been watching Paul Pierce play basketball was during Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals. The dramatic comeback (and it was dramatic in real time) from a possibly serious knee injury to knocking down two huge threes was so amazing. Those shots are why Pierce is a basketball hero.

2.  How will Pierce do this upcoming season?

Brian Robb: I expect to Pierce to match his per minute numbers from last season, albeit with a reduced workload. He had a tremendous second half of the season last year, all playing with a pinched nerve in his neck, that probably would have kept him out of the second round of the playoffs (if the C’s advanced, according to sources). With defenses unable to key on Pierce game-in and game-out now, his outside shooting prowess and strong work on the glass should continue to shine in New York.

Brendan Jackson: Pierce and Joe Johnson already tried to play together once before (albeit for half a season and before Johnson settled into his career) and it didn’t work out.  I’m a little nervous to see how two guys who are most effective with the ball in their hands share the same court.  Given the amount of talent on Brooklyn’s roster, I think Pierce will eventually settle into his role.  Season Averages Predictions: 15 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assist.

Michael Pina: For the first time in his career he won’t be the go-to scorer at the end of quarters or games, unless presented with a favorable one-on-one match-up. He won’t have the ball in his hands, looking to attack the defense in one form or another on nearly every single possession he’s out there. But Paul Pierce will still thrive next year. He’s one of the best three-point shooters in the world, both spotting up and off the bounce, understands team defense more than almost every other small forward in the league, and is still an excellent rebounder. Pierce’s role will be reduced dramatically, but that’s exactly what he needs.

3.  What will his legacy be as a Celtic?

Brian Robb:  I defer to Bob Ryan here: The best pure scorer in Celtics history.

Brendan Jackson: Pierce makes the starting five in the Celtics All Star team as the team’s Shooting Guard.  The rest of the roster includes Bill Russell at Center, Kevin McHale at Power Forward, Larry Bird at Small Forward, and you pick the point guard (because I refuse to).  One caveat: John Havlicek is the sixth man, no matter what.

Michael Pina: He’s one of the three or four greatest players to ever put on a Celtics jersey. Setting the number of championships won aside, Paul Pierce’s name will be synonymous with Bill Russell and Larry Bird in Celtics lore.

  • Phil

    I'm still not ready to say goodbye. I saw a random note that Pierce was playing poker at one of the WSOP events last week, and it took me a good five minutes to realize that he wasn't on the team anymore.

    The showdown with Lebron in 2008 stands out to me right now, but so does everything from his early years when he was about the only reason to watch the Celtics. I'll remember individual moments with other players, but I think I'm going to remember the whole ride with Pierce.

  • fabzzz

    I actually love Paul Pierce. Like for real love – I love that man. Today sucks.

  • Wes

    I really hope he ends up with the C's again in a year or two and retire where he belongs. Come back on the reduced rate and help the hopefully rebuilt C's with his leadership.

  • Nick Magliozzi

    It kills me to see him go. He was my favorite player not only for the celtics but for the NBA. He was one of the best players in the league who did not win because he was more athletic. He was just a very intelligent and skilled basketball player. This team is going to miss him. Damn you Danny Ainge. I might have to root for the nets because the celtics are not doing anything this year.

  • hax

    <3 PP34

  • I_Love_Green


  • dslack

    Havlicek, the team's all-time leading scorer, doesn't get to start?

  • elroz

    Saying goodby? No! We will cheer him – and KG – every time the Nest visit … we will probably cheer for the Nets in the playoffs (I will also cheer for the Pacers – Larry Bird!)…

    and then we will retire their numbers and then, maybe, it's a goodby. Russel, Havlicek, Bird, …no goodbys …still here.

  • hax

    "How do you feel about being traded at the end of your career?"
    "Who said it's the end of my career?"

  • BeanMan

    Bob Cousy would obviously be the starting PG!

  • check12check

    i had a moment like a week ago where i realized pierce was no longer a Celtic, and it hurt a bit. PP and KG will get cheers any time they come to boston

  • dasein

    Cheer up gents. I bet a cyber-beer he takes a 1-yr deal (or 2 yr with player option) with the nets next season. Then KG retires and he's back in Green on a sweetheart deal to play a Chauncy Billips (clippers) type role. He get's to retire a Celtic after all, and this nets thing is akin to Jordan's wizard years; they didn't happen.

    • fabzzz

      Except Pierce may actually win in NJ.

      And after a morning of boredom and the trade finally becoming official – and also the painful realization that Kris Humphries is on our team, which, to be fair, is probably painful for him too (I'm sorry Rajon!") – I thought of possible trade scenarios.

      1. Humphries/Lee to Charlotte for Gordon/Sessions. We get two expiring deals and rid ourselves of Lee's contract. Essentially this is giving Charlotte Courtney Lee. My hope is that they would throw in a pick, but I'd do the deal regardless. It's Budget time for next free agency season, folks, and that means cutting off every little piece of fat.

      2. The bolder one as tweaked from Bill Simmons: Rondo/Wallace to Detroit for Stuckey/Villanueva/Monroe. Detroit may throw in a pick but it would be a late lottery at best (Detroit as a playoff team!). We get two huge expiring deals and a true center in Monroe, as well as rid ourselves of the giant blemish on our books that is the shell of Gerald Wallace. And without Rondo and literally no passer on the team (Olynk? Crawford?) we are in close range to Andrew Wiggins and a high caliber free agent next season. Yep, I'd do this deal. It would hurt and I don't know if I could stomach a single game next season, but I'd do it, anyways dammit.

      • hax

        Rondo was just quoted as saying he'd never suit up for the Heat. Love the Celtics Pride he has. I don't think Ainge will gamble on a lottery tanking again. We have 2 all star pieces right now, with some nice assets to turn into a new big 3 whenever Ainge gets the right price/trade.

      • dasein

        Ha. I put that Rondo trade (well, the basic bones of it) out here on this forum about a week before Simmons podcasted it. Fairly obvious option. Don't need to be a trade machine picaso to come up with that.

        • fabzzz

          You are very, very smart.

  • ghoulbuns

    Boston, outside of Rondo, has no pride. Sorry to say. Your saying is a farce. I hope Brooklyn wins a title. Danny Ainge can go fuck himself. This is what happens when you let a Mormon rule you. Yes, I said it. Self-serving…no loyalty. Its been a great few months for Boston as far as Im concerned, lol. Enjoy what youve sown, assholes. Go Brooklyn!