The thought of Paul Pierce wearing anything other than a Celtics uniform is as bizarre as it gets. When Pierce opted out of the final year of his contract two summers ago, he openly admitted he had no intention of leaving Boston but was simply trying to give the team more flexibility to improve by signing a four-year deal. Could the situation be different the next time around?
Pierce is entering the final guaranteed year of his contract, with the Celtics holding a team option for the 2013-2014 season. Considering Boston just signed Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry and Brandon Bass to three-year deals, the captain knows it would be silly to ask for an extension now. Instead, he says he has not ruled out testing free agency.
“I think I am going to play this one out,” Pierce said according to the Boston Herald. “I want to see what it feels like to be a free agent for once in my life. I think I am going to play this one out. A lot can change in two years. My body (may not) be where I want it to be, I could retire, a lot of things could happen. I love the game. I made as much money as I possibly can. It’s about winning a championship and if I feel like it’s the right thing to do, maybe so (come back). If I solidify my third year, maybe they opt out, so it’s about keeping your options open.”
For a 34-year-old player who has missed hardly any time in his 14-year career, two years is a very long time. Chances are the Celtics will pick up his option, and it would make sense for Pierce to retire following that season. He has been with Boston through some truly horrendous seasons and rarely ever voiced his displeasure. The NBA is a business, but Pierce has defined loyalty for well over a decade. The Celtics can’t allow him to finish his career in another uniform.
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