The future of the Boston Celtics will be one of the more interesting storylines of the NBA offseason. The team already broke up the Big Three core that helped the franchise win the NBA title in 2007-2008 when they let Ray Allen leave for the Miami Heat in free agency last year. They filled that spot by adding Jason Terry, but the season was derailed by Rajon Rondo’s knee injury. After losing in the first round of the playoffs to the New York Knicks, it looks like Boston’s days as a championship contender are over. GM Danny Ainge now faces the difficult decision about what to do with Paul Pierce.
Pierce is owed $15.3 million next season, but the team can buy him out for $5 million. He said after the Celtics were eliminated from the playoffs on Friday night that he expects to continue playing next season, but he recognizes that the decision about whether or not he’ll be back with Boston is up to Ainge. What happens to Pierce may impact what happens with Kevin Garnett.
Garnett is still under contract with the team for the next two seasons. After the team was eliminated in the playoffs on Friday, he talked about what they needs to do for next season.
“I think we need some additions. Health hit us pretty hard this year, and I’m sure they’re going to address that,” Garnett said, via WEEI’s Ben Rohrbach.
Garnett also said his relationship with Pierce will be a factor in his decision.
“One of the big reasons I came here was because of Paul. Obviously, you want to be in a situation where it’s better. I want to make sure that I’m always able to help a team and be in positions where I’m giving something. I demand a lot from myself, both physically and from a skill level. But I’d be lying to y’all if I said Paul didn’t play into that factor. It’s too soon of a conversation for me right now.”
Garnett is turning 37 and already the highest career earner in the NBA. If the Celtics decide to break up the roster and get rid of Pierce, he might not want to return.
It’s just my personal guess that Ainge will let Pierce go knowing that the Truth is not worth $15.3 million. I don’t know if that will influence Garnett to retire, but I do believe the Celtics’ roster will look a lot different next season.
Below are videos of Pierce and Garnett’s final news conferences: