COMMENTARY | In his 15 years with the team, Paul Pierce has been through it all with the Boston Celtics. After being drafted with the 10th overall pick out of the University of Kansas, Pierce has spent his entire career with the same team, a feat rarely accomplished in the free agency era.
Following a 2012-2013 season where the Celtics were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round by the New York Knicks, it looks as if a rebuilding era is on the horizon. This group clearly doesn't have the championship potential, especially considering Pierce and Kevin Garnett aren't getting any younger. This has been a possibility for the past few years, but has never appeared as imminent as it does now.
If rebuilding is the path that Danny Ainge selects, it appears that the writing is on the wall for Pierce to finally leave town, either via trade, release, or retirement. At 35 years of age, he understandably will not be looking to end his career on a team playing for the future. A betting man would feel confident that Paul Pierce may have played his last game in Celtic green.
If this is the end of Paul Pierce in Boston, what will his legacy as a Celtic be?
Pierce will forever be remembered as one of the better players of his generation. He is not in the league of Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, or probably even Kevin Garnett. He'll be considered one of the players at the top of the second tier of his generation, as a scorer who was never dominant but always extremely productive and feared.
Boston fans will appreciate how Paul Pierce stayed tough through some of the losing years, and how he was able to wait until his later years to be part of a serious championship contender. They will remember how a player who was known for his sometimes selfish offensive ways unselfishly shared the spotlight with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen 2007-2008 to immediately mesh and win a championship over the rival Los Angeles Lakers.
Playing for such a storied franchise certainly has its benefits, but it also comes with drawbacks. Paul Pierce will never be remembered in the league of Boston legends such as Larry Bird, Bill Russell, etc. For many franchises, Paul Pierce would be remembered as a legend after his 15 year body of work. For Boston, however, he'll be in the "very good but not quite great" league.
As one of the best scorers of his generation, Pierce grew his game admirably as he aged. He became a better defender, a more capable facilitator, and a much more impressive all-around player over the past few years.
If this is indeed the end of the Paul Pierce era in Boston, he will forever be remembered by Celtics fans as one of the better players of his generation. While he is not at the legendary level of some Celtics before him, his legacy in Boston is cemented by the 15 years of constant production and championship ring that he helped bring to town.
Mark lives in the Boston area and has been covering the Celtics for 3 years. He has been featured on Fox Sports Yardbarker, Fox Sports, and Sports Illustrated "Hot Clicks", and has been published on Celtics 24/7, Bleacher Report, and Sports-Kings .
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