If you didn’t realize before this year, the 2012-2013 campaign clearly proved that Paul Pierce is an aging NBA star on the downward slope of his career. Those kinds of players usually don’t make more than $15 million a year – which is what Pierce is due to make next season – so it doesn’t come as much of a shock that the Celtics are exploring the idea of moving on without their longtime captain.
Only about a third of Pierce’s $15.3 million cap hit next season is guaranteed, meaning the Celts could buy him out at a pricetag of $5 million and begin their rebuilding process. Paul Pierce isn’t a dumb guy and, according to CSNNE’s Greg Dickerson, he’s well aware that he may have played his last game in Celtics green.
Here’s what Dickerson said Sunday:
“I don’t think they will (bring Pierce back),” Dickerson said Sunday on CSNNE. “And I know that the company that Paul Pierce hangs around in, they do not believe – and I don’t think Paul Pierce believes – that he is going to be brought back next year at $15 million.
“I know for a fact that people around Paul Pierce have pretty much resigned themselves to the fact that he’s played his final game in a Boston Celtics uniform. Again, Paul wants to stay – obviously for $15 million, but he wants to finish his career in a Celtics uniform.”
“If Paul’s gone, I think without a doubt Kevin Garnett is gone – either by retirement or he finally decides to waive his no-trade clause, and the Celtics maybe work something out with a (Los Angeles Clippers) team,” said Dickerson. “But the list is real short; the teams that Kevin Garnett would go to, there might be two of them on it, and they both might be the Clippers and (Los Angeles) Lakers.”
The NBA playoffs aren’t close to being over yet, so obviously Danny Ainge and the Celtics front office have plenty of time to decide what they’re going to hold onto Pierce, cut him to save money, or deal him to bolster an aging roster, but it appears that both the Celtics and Pierce are at least contemplating a possible mutual divorce after 15 seasons together.