In an interview with Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady, old friend Paul Pierce stated that he was on the fence about retirement or playing another year. I can’t help but wonder, what are the chances Pierce plays one more year in Boston? Would the Celtics be willing to pull a Timberwolves and trade a young player to bring Pierce back? Would The Truth himself rather play in Boston than LA next season? I don’t think Pierce himself knows the answer yet, but let’s brainstorm how each team might look at it:
The first thing that comes to mind is that the ticket sales would go through the roof. Celtics tickets sell pretty well regardless of the team’s success, but maybe cashing in on a farewell tour would interest the front office. How well he fits in with the roster is where I find it difficult to justify bringing him in. Unless he’s willing to be the next Gerald Wallace, I don’t see many minutes being available to him here. If, by some chance, he did want to mentor more and play less, we already know he’s not as outspoken as Kevin Garnett, the league’s poster child of “I’m back with my old team to yell at rookies and dunk on Blake Griffin”. One would expect Pierce to have a positive bench and locker room presence, but is it worth a roster spot? Depending on how free agency treats us, maybe he can fill the Evan Turner role. It’s a big maybe.
The Clippers are among many other legitimate championship contenders in playoff purgatory who are too good to give up hope before their season ends, but too bad to actually beat the Warriors. Pierce, an Oakland native, joined Doc Rivers in LA to give himself another shot at a title before retirement, but the western conference is as stacked as ever and doesn’t offer much opportunity to any teams outside of the top three. I think the Clippers are a ticking time bomb who could explode into rebuild mode at any given moment. From Griffin breaking himself to Doc the GM’s questionable decisions (I sold my stock in Lance Stephenson years ago), these Clippers have likely hit their peak. In the event that their top talent decides to spread their wings, I could see Pierce ending his career has a Celtic.
As much as I’d like to see it happen, it feels so difficult to justify either team wanting to make a trade for any reason other than fan service. The only scenario where it happens would be one where the Clippers say “Eh, screw it” while the Celtics say “Sure, why not”. I’m also terrified of what the Celtics would have to give up, given the fact that Brooklyn somehow got Thaddeus Young for Kevin Garnett.
I think Pierce would be a great influence on a young team, but as Trade Danny starts making moves, I don’t expect Pierce to be on his priority list. There’s no rush for the Celtics to become great overnight, but there are too many stockpiled picks to do nothing with. Like most offseason pipe dreams, we can only speculate until the dominoes start falling. It’s hard to figure out how most new players would fit in with a deep roster and eight draft picks.
If we could toss the Clippers a second round pick, I’d be all for it. Pierce is set to make $3.5 million next year, which I wouldn’t expect to be too much to pay given that two max player don’t fall in our lap.
Pierce, now age 38, looked rusty on the offensive end last year even in his reduced bench role. Maybe he would look better playing in a weaker conference again, but father time is undefeated. It might be best that we await his retirement and give him a sweet front office job.
For your enjoyment, here’s my favorite Pierce moment as a Celtic: