Paul Pierce says he is leaving his options open, may test free agency

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.

Photo credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Message on Celtics board told players ‘Pack for a Week’ (Picture)

Either the Celtics believe in the power of positive thinking, or they’re the cockiest team in the NBA. Not long after they were blown out at home by the Heat in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals, the above photo was tweeted out by the team’s official Twitter account.

Boston is returning to Miami for Game 7 on Saturday, and they would travel to Oklahoma City for the first two games of the NBA Finals if they beat the Heat.

We can’t expect LeBron James to have another historic game like he did in Game 6, but I would favor the Heat to win the series. If that’s the case, Boston will have some unpacking to do.

Photo credit: Celtics

Boston mayor Tom Menino says ‘K.J.’ and ‘Hondo’ really drive the Celtics (Video)

Throughout history we have seen numerous examples of why sports and politics are better off remaining in separate domains. President Barack Obama may know a thing or two about basketball, but typically politicians have too much on their plate to pay close attention to sports. Either that, or it just doesn’t interest them. Heck, even Obama has made a few notable sports blunders.  Whatever the reason, talking sports with politicians seems to always be a daunting task. There are few examples better than the one Boston mayor Tom Menino gave us on Wednesday.

As you can see from the video above that Barstool Sports passed along, Menino was asked about the Celtics’ success during a recent meeting with the press. As soon as the question was raised and Menino said “I stayed up too late last night,” you knew it was going to get ugly.

“There’s a lot of heart on this team, let me just tell you,” Menino said. “K.J. is a great (inaudible) but Hondo’s really the inspiration. I mean Hondo drives that team.”

By “K.J.,” I think he means Kevin Garnett, who goes by KG, and “Hondo” likely was meant to be “Rondo,” for point guard Rajon Rondo, but I’m just spitballing.

In Menino’s defense, he was put on the spot whereas politicians like this one choose to bring up sports before falling flat on their faces. Also, “Hondo” was a nickname for Celtics legend John Havliceck, but come on. Those who live in the Boston area are not even the least bit surprised by how little “Mumbles” Menino knows about the Celtics. Remember, this is the same guy who confused a Red Sox catcher for a Patriots kicker back in the day. That doesn’t mean it ever gets old.

NBA on ESPN Facebook says Heat ‘1 Win From Finals’ before game ended (Picture)

Very few people envisioned Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals going the way it did on Tuesday night. The Celtics were able to put together two huge wins at home to even the series at 2-2, but it was widely assumed that the Heat would take Game 5 at home and then close out the series either in Boston of Miami. The “aging” Celtics had other plans.

Call it a Freudian slip or call it a simple programming error but — as you can see from the screenshot above that Peter Kim shared with us on Twitter — someone over at ESPN accidentally crowned the Heat victorious before Tuesday’s game ended. A picture that Dwyane Wade and LeBron James with a banner that read “1 Win From the NBA Finals” was up for a very brief time on the NBA on ESPN Facebook page before being replaced with one that features Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce.

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Ray Allen reportedly feels slighted by Celtics, unsure if he’ll return to Boston

The Celtics are mounting a late-season surge up the standings, but are doing it with Ray Allen not having the best morale. Allen was almost dealt at the trade deadline to the Grizzlies for O.J. Mayo, but with the deal falling through, Allen’s relationship with the Celtics’ front office has become damaged. With that and being demoted to the bench recently, a “slighted” Allen’s chances of returning to the Celtics next season are up in the air. From the Boston Globe:

Allen is savvy in never displaying his true emotions, always even keel with the media, very composed on and off the court. Yet, that does not mean he lacks emotion. It’s been a disappointing season for Allen, because privately, he feels somewhat slighted by an organization for which he developed a loyalty and trust – and his demeanor has changed over the past few weeks. …. Allen wants to finish this season with a championship, but the likelihood of his return next season has diminished.

“It’s hard to say,” Allen said on whether he wants to stay in Boston, according to the Boston Herald. “The landscape always changes over the summer. Just from what I see around the NBA, there’s a lot of teams that look forward to having me. I just want to be somewhere where I’m valued, cherished and I can go out and play.”

Allen added that getting a multi-year contract would help him make his decision. He wants more security than a one-year deal, which Boston is likely to offer, would provide.

“I don’t want to go into this season, like I have in past seasons, worrying about whether I was going to be traded or not,” Allen said. “At this point we want to ride it out, take this thing to the house, and not have the instability of not knowing whether today or tomorrow something is going to happen.”

Bad news for Allen: He’s turning 37 in July. All he’s probably going to be offered this summer are one-year deals. Missing most of the last month with a sore right ankle also tells teams he’s starting to ware. Even if he leaves the C’s, he probably won’t be treated much differently elsewhere. Maybe if Isiah Thomas came back to the Knicks, he’d at least get the contract he’s looking for.

H/T I am a GM
Photo credit: Michael Hickey-US PRESSWIRE

Doc Rivers disgusted with Celtics’ effort in loss ‘it was a joke’

Doc Rivers was furious after the Celtics blew an 11-point halftime lead and lost to the Bulls 93-86 in Chicago Thursday. Rivers said the Bulls were tougher than Boston, and he called the loss the team’s worst of the season.

“I’m just so pissed at the way we played,” Rivers said, frustrated after the loss. “Honestly, the playoffs are the furthest thing from my mind right now because (Thursday’s) not us. We haven’t been that way but we were tonight. I called the two timeouts to remind us to make a run.

“We were cool tonight. We were the cool Boston Celtics tonight. That’s what we looked like. You could see it, walking the ball (up court). We couldn’t get the ball inbounds? Nobody wanted to work. It was a joke. We were the ‘cool Celtics.’ And there’s nothing about me that’s cool, I can tell you that. You don’t play basketball cool.”

Boston lost the lead at the end of the third quarter and trailed the entire fourth. They lost to a Bulls team playing without Derrick Rose for the 12th straight game and allowed Luol Deng to go off for 18 points in the second half. The only C’s player who might have an excuse is Ray Allen, who is returning from an ankle injury. Seems like Rivers is getting antsy with the playoffs coming up in a few weeks, and no, I don’t see Boston winning more than one round.

Photo Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE

Boston Celtics hiked the ball through their legs after tip-off (Video)

If you saw the opening tipoff for the Celtics-Lakers game Thursday night, then the outcome may have felt like karma. After the Celtics won the tip, Kevin Garnett hiked the ball between his legs to Rajon Rondo, who then hiked the ball to himself. I don’t know if unconventional move was a nod to the Patriots players in attendance or what, but it was pretty funny. Probably would have been much cooler if they didn’t lose.

Chest bump to Sweater Punch