COMMENTARY | Following a disappointing end to a long season, the big question for the Boston Celtics is whether Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will return for another season. For a team seemingly at the end of the road, many believe that Pierce and his $15 million deal will not be in Boston, ending the veteran's long run with the franchise.
Of course, much of this is pure speculation. The decision is ultimately up to Danny Ainge, who has shown plenty of confidence in this group over the years. While many have been calling for this team to be torn apart for the past few years, Ainge has stuck with his veterans longer than most people would.
According to an NBC report, there appears to be something material to hang our hats on now. The report suggests that those close to Pierce are not expecting him to be back with the team next season, and also hints that Pierce himself feels the same way. This comes from Greg Dickerson, a CSN New England sideline reporter.
These kind of things always have to be taken with a grain of salt, as anything can obviously change at any given moment. The team has a little while to make this decision, where they can then look for a trade or release their long-time small forward. Paul Pierce surely still has some value, and could perhaps bring back a piece or two to help the Celtics in a rebuilding effort. The one drawback for teams looking to trade for Pierce is his contract, which currently has him in line to earn $15 million this upcoming season. If the team decides to release him, Pierce could then choose a team of his choice, or retire.
While a trade might be the best option, it wouldn't be totally surprising to see the Celtics release Pierce, which would allow him to then decide his future on his own terms. Pierce has been through a lot with the team, and has stayed loyal through his 14 years in Boston.
If Pierce is indeed gone, the next piece is surely Kevin Garnett. Understandably so, it's unlikely that KG will be willing to stick around town without Pierce. Following a move involving Pierce would almost certainly be followed by a move with Garnett, who could also retire or stick around for another year with a team of his choice.
It's important to note that the loss to the New York Knicks has to still be fresh in Pierce's mind, and he may simply be in an emotional state right now. You always like to wait until the season is over for a little while to hear from players, as it gives them time to clear their mind and make the right decision.
If this is indeed the end, Paul Pierce will have quite the legacy in Boston, where he helped bring a ring to town just a few years ago.
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 .
Follow him on Twitter here.
- Sports & Recreation
- Paul Pierce
- Boston Celtics
- Kevin Garnett