Like all Celtics greats, Pierce wanted to stay in Boston and retire with the same team that he played every game of his career with. Who can blame him? Pierce is going to go down as a legend, and it's reasonable for legends to be upset when teams don't want them anymore.
Pierce didn't have the option of choosing Brooklyn as his destination for 2013-2014. The Nets were willing to give the Celtics the draft picks they wanted, and that is all that mattered to president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. He would have traded Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Russia if he thought it could get the team higher picks and free up more cap space.
But now that the smoke has cleared and Pierce is wearing a Nets uniform, the question is being considered: Where did Paul Pierce want to go?
Boston Globe Reporter Gary Washburn reported on Sunday, Aug. 18 that Pierce stated in an interview that he was very happy he ended up with the Nets, one of the three teams he says he was most interested in playing for. And although Pierce has been especially cryptic about the other two teams, Washburn again reiterated in his article that sources around the league believed that Pierce would sign with the Los Angeles Clippers if the Celtics did not exercise the team option in his contract, making them his first choice.
This shouldn't come as a big surprise, considering that Pierce had an excellent relationship with new Clippers coach Doc Rivers, Pierce is originally from Inglewood, California, and that initial trade rumors had Pierce, Garnett and Rivers going to Los Angeles as a package.
The Clippers were unwilling to pull the trigger on a deal that would have likely cost them multiple first-round draft picks and young talent. But now that we see that the Nets were willing to give up a similar package, is it fair to say that Los Angeles lost out by not making the deal? The team undeniably has a solid foundation with All-Stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, but without a legitimate perimeter scorer who can take over a game in the fourth quarter, it's doubtful that a team that couldn't even get out of the first round of the playoffs last year against the Memphis Grizzlies has any chance of taking down the Oklahoma City Thunder, the San Antonio Spurs or the new-and-improved Houston Rockets.
Paul Pierce, however, would have provided the All-Star-caliber scoring needed from the small forward position and would have forced Jared Dudley to come off the bench, a role that better fits Dudley and deepens the Clippers' rotation.
Additionally, Pierce, and Garnett if he also ended up coming over in the deal, brings something the Clippers do not have and can't teach to their players: championship experience. Of all the players on the Los Angeles roster, not one of them has won an NBA title, and only J.J. Redick has any NBA Finals experience. Coach Doc Rivers will certainly bring a lot of needed playoff experience to an organization that has very little of it, but if the Brooklyn Nets find themselves in the Eastern Conference finals or the NBA Finals, the Clippers will likely be kicking themselves for not making the trade in order to save a few late first-round picks.
Don't agree with me? Tell me why I am wrong on Twitter @TheNewRevere or by e-mail at THATcelticsguy@gmail.com.
Justin Haskins is a New England native and a freelance journalist. He has been obsessively following Boston professional sports for 10 years and has been published in numerous online publications and websites.
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