No one knows if Paul Pierce will play in 2016-17. The Truth continues to take his time deciding if he’ll return for another season, despite multiple reports that he’s “leaning toward” or “planning” on coming back for another run. Really, Pierce could go either way. He has made enough money, he has won a championship, he has cemented his legacy. He has nothing left to prove.
But while Pierce’s status for the season remains up in the air, one thing is not, as far as his former coach Doc Rivers goes. Rivers told reporters this week that Pierce must retire as a Boston Celtic.
One thing Rivers said is a certainty is that when Pierce decides to retire, it will be as a Celtic, meaning a ceremonial one-day contract with Boston.”I think it’s important,” Rivers said. “We have to do that and I think we will. Danny [Ainge] and [assistant general manager] Mike [Zarren], we’ve already talked. The day he retires, he’s going to retire a Celtic and he has to. I don’t think anyone disagrees with that.”
Rivers is 100 percent right, and it’s cool that he has talked to his former bosses in Boston about making sure this happens. Any other result would be wrong, just as it’s wrong that Amar’e Stoudemire and Steve Nash didn’t retire as Phoenix Suns. It’s important for the story of a player’s career that he sets the sun on his career with the team that gave him and his fans the best memories.
For Pierce to retire with the Clippers just wouldn’t be right. Pierce’s career belongs to Boston just as Boston belongs to Pierce for everything he built there.
The good news is that there’s every reason to believe the Celtics will handle this right. Pierce will have to make his decision before the NBA’s roster cut day in October, however; they’re full up on guaranteed contracts and wouldn’t have room to add him if he decided to call it quits. (Pierce is technically under contract for $3.5 million guaranteed to the Clippers, which they would have to take care of first and then waive him, before Boston signing him to one of those “one-day contract” deals. )
Source: CBS Sports / Doc Rivers is right: It’s ‘important’ that Paul Pierce retires as a Celtic