Most Celtics fans already realize that the chances longtime captain Paul Pierce returns to play for Boston next season are pretty slim, and a new report from an Ohio sportwriter indicates that the C’s are leaning towards buying out Pierce this summer.
Cavaliers reporter Bob Finnan of The News Herald (OH) reported Sunday that “sources indicate Celtics director of basketball operations Danny Ainge will likely buy out forward Paul Pierce’s $15 million contract for next year ($5 million is guaranteed).”
Take that news with a grain of salt considering it’s coming from a writer in Ohio that I’ve never heard of, but it’s not like the report comes as a huge surprise considering that Pierce showed significant signs of aging on a rebuilding Celtics team last season. As hard as it would be to say goodbye to a future Hall of Famer that has spent his entire 15 year career here, the team would be much better off dumping Pierce and using the $10 million to add pieces for the future.
Reports indicate that Pierce wants to stay and finish his career in Boston, but has pretty much resigned himself to the fact that he has played his last game in a Celtics uniform. If bought out, he’ll likely look to sign on with a serious contender for a shot at another NBA title.
Update: CSNNE’s Rich Levine is refuting the report from Finnan at this time:
I spoke with a team source this weekend who immediately laughed off this report. The funny part wasn’t the idea that the Celtics will buy out Pierce, because, as we know, that’s obviously within the realm of possibility. The joke was the suggestion that the C’s are “likely” to do anything at this point in time. The truth is (now this is me talking) that the Celtics will deal with Pierce the same way they deal with everything: By exploring every option. And right now, with a full month before we even get to the draft, the exploration is far from over. It would be crazy for the Celtics to look at the current state of things and just shrug their shoulders like: “OK, well I guess we’ll probably just buy him out.”
For what it’s worth, I trust a local guy much more than a guy I’ve never heard of from a paper I’ve never heard of in Ohio.