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Will Paul Pierce opt out of his contract?

Jun 19, 2010, 5:25 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for Pierce_celebrates.jpg

Paul Pierce has almost all there is to do in Boston. In 12 years with the Celtics, Pierce has been an All-Star many times. He’s won a Finals MVP award. He was with the team during the bad times and during its highest moment in recent years. He had both Kevin Garnett and Antoine Walker as running mates, and he made it work with both. In Boston, he is the Captain and The Truth. 
After all that, has Paul Pierce played his last game in a Celtics uniform? Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated has some thoughts on the matter:
There could be another member of the Big Three on the market, too. Pierce has a player option for $21.5 million next season. But with the collective bargaining agreement set to expire next summer and a new one expected to significantly reduce player salaries, several prominent players (including Dirk Nowitzki and Amar’e Stoudemire) are planning to opt out of lucrative contracts in order to sign new deals under the existing agreement. Pierce, 32, could leave the $21.5 million on the table with the expectation that he could score a contract worth $50 million to $60 million in the offseason.

At first blush, Pierce leaving the Celtics seems as likely as Boston erecting a Wilt Chamberlain statue outside of The Garden. Pierce and Co. came agonizingly close to a championship this season, Boston loves him, and he’s been with the team for over a decade. And 21 million dollars is a lot of money to leave on the table. 

But think about it for a second. Boston was able to make an incredible run in this year’s playoffs, but they looked downright old for most of the regular season. Outside of Rajon Rondo, the team is not getting any younger. Tom Thibodeau is gone, and Doc Rivers and Ray Allen may follow. 
If Pierce does leave Boston, where would he go? New York seems unlikely, especially since he plays the same position as the best young player the Knicks have under contract. New Jersey/Brooklyn could be a possibility, but that team is a long-term project at best. Minnesota and Washington seem like long shots. Chicago and Miami have their eyes set on bigger prizes. Sacramento would give the chance for Pierce to mentor Tyreke Evans, Carl Landry, Omri Casspi, Jason Thompson, Donte Greene, and the rest of the Kings’ young core, but Sacramento might be a bit far from the spotlight for Pierce’s liking.
The Clippers are an intriguing possibility. Baron Davis, Eric Gordon, Paul Pierce, Blake Griffin, and Chris Kaman would be a heck of a starting lineup. The Clippers have a top-10 pick in the upcoming draft. Not only would the Clippers give Pierce the opportunity to play in a big market, but Los Angeles also happens to be Pierce’s hometown. (Besides, Clipper fans wouldn’t have lingering animosity towards Pierce, as Clipper fans are most assuredly not Laker fans.) The Clippers are a young team with a lot of talent, and Pierce’s basketball IQ, championship experience, and ability to control an offense are all qualities that could help the Clippers tremendously. 
Pierce probably won’t end up becoming a Clipper — not many players jump ship from the most successful franchise in NBA history to perhaps the least successful franchise in NBA history. And the Clippers themselves may be wary of signing Pierce after how poorly the whole “Baron Davis comes to the Clippers to save his hometown team” thing worked out. Still, it is something that both sides may want to ponder. 
  1. Akshay - Jun 19, 2010 at 8:29 PM

    Pierce is going to retire a Celtics. Bottom Line!

  2. dave - Jun 19, 2010 at 11:13 PM

    Pierce could opt out and then just re-sign with Boston for slightly less annually, but more in total contract value, with the later years of the deal paying him more than he would make next season under his current contract. That could give Boston some more flexibility in the free agent market.
    But I’d like to see him become a Clipper, just for the poetic justice.

  3. Drew - Jun 20, 2010 at 12:33 AM

    Sports writers will entertain ANY possibility. Pierce is staying with Boston. Amare is staying in Phoenix. Dirk is staying in Dallas. Wade is staying in Miami. Joe Johnson and Chris Bosh will likely sign elsewhere. Lebron is anyone’s best guess, but I think he will stay in Cleveland.

  4. Omnius - Jun 20, 2010 at 9:52 AM

    The Truth about Paul Pierce is that he has been a whiner and dirty player that has made a career of making hacking fouls and dirty trick plays where he falls into opposing players and then cries for the ref to bail him out when he caused the foul. When faced with a superior defensive player like Too Fierce for Pierce Ron Artest he wilted. Referees always looked the other way when Pierce made so many defensive fouls. Pierce does not deserve to be in the NBA Hall of Fame, he just didn’t have that great a career nor did the Celtics do well except for two years. Any team that would pay him $50-$60 million would be a total fool, he’s overrated and overpaid as it is. The only reason that Pierce has a ring is that he was lucky to play an injured Lakers team missing two players.

  5. Drew - Jun 20, 2010 at 11:25 AM

    Omnius, your team won. Why are you still bitter? Kobe flails and whines every bit as much as Pierce, if not more. Gasol is probably worse. Derek Fisher does more acting than any Hollywood star. On literally almost every call, he flops to exaggerate the play on offense or bodies up and commits fouls on defense and then gives sarcastic grins every time he gets whistled. Forget about all the complaining. The Celtics won in ’08 because they were better. The Lakers won in ’10 because they were better. The Celtics won Game 6 in ’08 by 40. That’s not luck.

  6. FDJLakers - Jun 20, 2010 at 11:25 AM

    Pierce should join the Clippers, so he could go from one loser team to another, and the Clippers should go back to San Diego!
    I like Garnett, Rhondo, and Allen as players and as people…..it’s their green uniform I hate.
    In 2008, Ariza and Bynum were watching the finals from the bench, and the Celtics capitalized on that to win the Championship. In 2009, the Lakers did without Bynum for most of the time against Boston, and Boston did without Perkins for one game. Regardless of injuries, adjustments, or even psychiatric difficulties (smile), the Lakers came thru, while Doc Rivers whines. Pierce gave Artest no respect and no credit for his defense this series……but Artest has the Ring, and Pierce went home crying.
    Nice Victory in L.A.

  7. Mark L. - Jun 20, 2010 at 11:52 AM

    Pierce could sign for the WNBA soft, cry baby like him, where he belong.

  8. JAck Tripper - Jun 20, 2010 at 12:48 PM

    Pierce Tripped Gasol in Game 6 in case anybody missed that….a – and a foul wasn’t called should have been a flagrant.
    Artest has to be the best defender the game has ever seen – he does that without getting into foul trouble. Also once he figures out the triangle which takes 2-3 years as you have to learn it from other players (the forward position is the most difficult in the triangle as the center and lead guard have the ball and it is easy to make plays with the ball) he will be a monster as his confidence will grow when Artest is making his own shots
    Rondo was rendered ineffective primarily by Kobe – he was eating up everybody else….

  9. Drew - Jun 20, 2010 at 4:42 PM

    I don’t know if I would put Artest above Rodman or even Dwight Howard right now. Jordan and Gary Payton (in his prime) were excellent on-the-ball defenders. I would put Artest in the top 20.
    I sort of feel like Artest has reached his ceiling as a player though. You can’t be a lockdown defender forever. He’s starting to get a bit older and has some more wear on his body.
    Why is everyone still complaining about Pierce?

  10. Dave G. - Jun 20, 2010 at 6:45 PM

    I guess you didn’t see Kobe cheating and intentionally walking underneath Perkins without going for the rebound?
    You DO realize that Kobe’s cheating ways (in more than one way- can you spell rapist?) was the ONLY reason the Lakers won? The Celtics played classy and the Lakers HAD to cheat! 32% shooting but a large edge on offensive rebounding- you DO realize that wouldn’t have happened without Kobe intentionally injuring a center in the 6th game of 7 game Finals?

  11. LoLnoway - Jun 20, 2010 at 10:52 PM

    dave i am not a lakers or celtics fan, i enjoy basketball, but for you to type that bs regarding kobe and accusing him of deliberately causing the injury to perkins, first off watch the replay, whne they were playing he had plenty of space and when he slipped no one was near him, and if you start pointing fingers , geeze lets start by pointing out davis and how he undercuts anyone in hte paint, or pierce deliberately hitting gasol in the face , or allen playing the i accidently elbowed fisher 3 times, yes everyone plays hard and some are questionable but for you to call the lakers cheaters and the celtics classy, uhm hes something else rondo travels more wiht the ball than all the lakers combined garnet does more moving picks than anyone in the league, oh and cheating hell the refs did everything they could to hand the series to the celtics game 2 gimme a break games 4 and 5 cmon yes lakers didnt play hard and they still almost took both those games, your truly a whiny little piece that is upset because your team didnt win …now for the truth game 7 was one of the best defensive games in the history of nba both teams played with a lot of heart congrats to both and you dave dont comment on hwat you obviously dont understand

  12. Cream - Jun 20, 2010 at 11:07 PM

    Why doesn’t Pierce opt out of his contract. Pull a Tom Brady and take a lil less money for like 5 years with the Celtics so the Celtics can go out and pick up one of the top free agents on the list? Who knows, Jesus will prob be willing to take less money and resign with them as well. Imagine Pierce, KG, Rondo, Lebron, Jesus and Perkins on the same team lol? IDK but Ainge is gonna pull something out the hat thats gonna surprise the world. He knows that free agency is the real way towards the ring and cant pass up this years crop.

  13. Ron - Jun 21, 2010 at 1:16 AM

    LOLnoway, don’t even bother responding to cretins like Dave G. He lost all credibility with me when he coined in with the rapist line and that is when I stopped reading his diatribe.
    Get a clue, Dave G. No one is going to bother reading your crap unless you bring something of value to the table.

  14. James - Jun 21, 2010 at 1:55 AM

    you’re an idiot dude. seriously, this article is about the slim possibility pierce leaves the celtics. not about your pathetic justification of your title. and get your dates correct. lakers will always be #2 to the celtics. 9-3. you’re too far behind to even argue about this.

  15. LA2Oak - Jun 21, 2010 at 9:11 AM

    Oh yeah, I saw that and it was totally unprofessional. I’m surprised the NBA didn’t review it and fine Pierce. Tripping someone like that can cause serious injury especially if they don’t see it. Perkins injury wasn’t caused in any way by the Lakers so the thought of such conjures craziness on part of the person who created the post.

  16. johnsonj3 - Jun 21, 2010 at 10:48 AM

    What the hell are you talking about. The refers were giving the Lakers all kinds of fouls. Boston was the team that was being nasty. Oh by the way did you see when Pierce gave a elbow to Gasoland no call was made? The game is over the Lakers won and we will see you next year.

  17. chessplayer - Jun 21, 2010 at 1:09 PM

    Lakers is not known as a physical team. I watched the game in the 80’s during the time of Larry and Magic, and I could tell the way Lakers execute their game plan, no physical involve, just a mere “finess”. The same way Kobe and other four conducted and executed their game plan, neat and clean. Unluckilly for them they always get hit first. I like Boston.

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