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Kevin Garnett, Paul Piece, Doc Rivers all reportedly interested in Los Angeles Clippers

Paul-Pierce-Doc-Rivers-Kevin-GarnettThere has been a lot of talk over the last week or so about whether or not Doc Rivers wants to remain with the Boston Celtics. Ray Allen has moved on and Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce have very little left in the tank. The championship window has closed, and Rivers is not interested in taking on a full-blown rebuilding project. Now, rumors are swirling that Pierce, Garnett and Rivers could all leave town together.

According to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, there is a “rising belief” around the NBA that Rivers, Pierce and Garnett would all like to move to the Los Angeles Clippers together if the Celtics aren’t in a position to contend for a title next season. While it was initially assumed that any trade like that would involve Blake Griffin, Stein said it would be possible for the Clippers to land all three without giving up Griffin. They would have to send cash and draft considerations for Rivers.

Rivers has established an extremely close relationship with Pierce over the last decade and Garnett since the Big Three first came together in 2007. Both players have hinted in the past that they would never play for anyone but Doc, and a scenario like the one Stein laid out could keep them all together while still giving them a shot at another ring.

Of course, money would be an issue for both teams. Pierce’s $15 million contract with the Celtics for next year is not fully guaranteed, but Boston would have to pay him $5 million if they released him. There has been a lot of talk about Garnett retiring, but I’m sure he could be persuaded to play alongside Pierce, Griffin and Chris Paul while keeping his favorite coach. Some restructuring of deals would have to take place and the Clippers would have to compensate the Celtics quite handsomely, but it’s not totally out of the question.

Kevin Garnett: Paul Pierce will be a factor in my decision

Paul Pierce Kevin GarnettThe 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:

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Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce leave court without shaking hands (Video)

Kevin Garnett Paul PierceKevin Garnett stayed true to his competitive form to the very end. After the Boston Celtics lost to the New York Knicks 88-80 in a series-ending Game 6 at TD Garden on Friday, Garnett walked off the court without appearing to shake hands with his opponents. Teammates Paul Pierce and Jason Terry were right in front of him as they walked off the court and into the locker room.

Exiting the playoffs without congratulating his opponents on the court is a postseason tradition for KG. He and Rajon Rondo did it last year after Boston lost to the Miami Heat in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals. Neither player would apologize for not being sportsmanlike, and Rondo even said he wished the team had more “sore losers.” Though Rondo wasn’t around because he is rehabbing his knee injury, Boston did have more sore losers this time to join Garnett.

There actually is a lot more going on here than a matter of sportsmanship; there is a lot of bad blood between the teams. In January, Garnett and Carmelo Anthony got into it during and after a game. Then the Knicks angered the Celtics by wearing all black to Game 4 for the “funeral” of the Celtics.

Garnett is signed for two more seasons while Pierce has a $15.3 million team option. Boston could buy out Pierce for $5 million. Garnett, who is turning 37 on May 19, hinted in February that he would be retiring after the season. Pierce has indicated that he does not want to play for any other team. This may finally be the year both players call it a career.

If Garnett’s last actions on an NBA court were walking off without congratulating his opponent, it would be very befitting of his competitive personality.

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

Paul Pierce walks off court with 2.2 seconds left in Game 2 (Video)

Paul Pierce fouled out of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals in the final minute of regulation, and he also made an early exit from the game in the final seconds of overtime.

The Celtics forward was shown by ESPN cameras leaving the floor and walking to the locker room with 2.2 seconds left in the game. Our guess is that he began making his exit when his team was down 114-108 with a few seconds left before Rajon Rondo improbably made another three pointer to make it 114-111.

Even if a comeback was unlikely at that point, players should always try their best, and guys on the bench should always support their teammates. About the only excuse I could imagine for Pierce is if he had to get treatment or go to the bathroom or something, but even in that case he should be able to wait a minute for the game to finish.

Paul Pierce Tebows during Hawks game (Video)

Just when you thought “Tebowing” was dead, Paul Pierce went ahead and revived it. The Celtics forward dropped down on one knee on the Atlanta Hawks logo after knocking down a free throw with 1:15 left in Game 2 on Tuesday night. Pierce had a monster game, going for 36 points, 14 rebounds, and 4 assists in his team’s 87-80 win in Atlanta.

“You like to thank God for putting you in these positions,” Pierce explained after the game. “It wasn’t pre-scripted, it just came to me,” he said of his Tebowing.

Doc Rivers didn’t see his All-Star forward drop down and pray, but he liked it when told about it.

“I missed it,” Rivers told the media. “If he did it, that’s terrific. I’m a Florida native so I’ll take that. I wish he hadn’t had done it, but I hadn’t seen it.”

Pierce may be 34 years old, but he can still get it done. Though, as he reminded everyone after the game, his efforts are not without repercussion:

Paul Pierce and Josh Hamilton Dressed as Buzz Lightyear: Who Wore it Better?

I have to give this one to Paul Pierce on account of his hood and gloves. Never underestimate the power of accessories. Although you have to hand it to Josh Hamilton — with his build, he sure fills out the costume well.

Pictures via @PaulPierce34, @KandJHamilton
H/T NESN, Rangers Blog