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Ainge says Celtics face “very hard” decision with Pierce this summer

May 2, 2013, 2:28 PM EDT

Boston Celtics v New York Knicks - Game Five Getty Images

Is it time to break up the Celtics and rebuild? Or does the way they played the last couple games, and once they get Rajon Rondo back, mean it’s time for one more run at it?

That decision falls to Celtics decision maker Danny Ainge — the Celtics have until June 30 to buy out Paul Pierce’s $15.3 million contract for next season for just $5 million. Do that and Kevin Garnett may retire, or you can trade him for younger assets and start the rebuild with those pieces around Rondo.

Ainge told CSNNE.com’s A. Sherrod Blakely it will not be an easy call.

“What’s important to understand, yeah, it’s going to be hard for fans and everybody else, but as far as what’s doing what’s best for the Celtics, it’s probably going to be very hard, too,” Ainge told CSNNE.com. “It’s not a no-brainer. It’s not like you get a 21-year-old All-Star player, or you get the number one pick in the draft [if you let Pierce go]. Those decisions would not be hard, but I have a feeling the decision is going to be very hard, yeah….

“I have not even discussed that with anyone within our franchise yet,” Ainge said. “So that’s something for like a few weeks from now to contemplate.”

It would be the end of an era, Pierce is the most iconic Celtics player since the Larry Bird era. It would be an emotional decision. Pierce has said he wants to keep playing would get picked up by another team… but Pierce in another jersey just sounds weird.

Still it may be the right decision (or even one past due). If Boston brings back this group next season, are they going to be better than the Heat, Knicks and Pacers? Are they really contenders? I think you’re just delaying the rebuild and it’s better to start now. But my emotions are not tied up in this; the history of Pierce and KG in green certainly has to change the equation in Boston.

  1. hwatt - May 2, 2013 at 2:36 PM

    the tough part is how to you build a championship with new pieces around Rondo. It’s easy to get stuck in nowheresville with the pacers, hawks, and nets winning games but not winning championships if/when Pierce and KG leave and it’s just Rondo.

    Or I guess they try to do what they did last time and organize another trade of the decade in the right year.

    • ss3walkman - May 2, 2013 at 11:53 PM

      They shoulda kept Ray happy. I have they don’t advance passed the first round of the playoffs for 12 years

  2. Mr. Wright 212 - May 2, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    Put him out to pasture. He can’t even create space without blatantly pushing off or flopping (which is what he’s done all series long, and for the past 2 1/2 years).

    • andyhr17 - May 2, 2013 at 2:57 PM

      Whaaaaaa. Celtics beat my team so now I’ll talk about how their players are no good.

      • jcmeyer10 - May 2, 2013 at 4:30 PM

        Haters gon’ hate.

      • 4thquartermagic - May 2, 2013 at 5:37 PM

        Now now MrWright has a point, theres no way Pierce is able to be that effective when 1st Team All-Universe defender, Melo Anthony is guarding him.

        Now way he scores on Carmelo Vasquez unless he’s cheating!

      • Mr. Wright 212 - May 2, 2013 at 6:55 PM

        Those are facts, they were facts before this series began, they will be facts when it ends.

      • andyhr17 - May 2, 2013 at 7:29 PM

        Maybe Melo should push off and flop more. His 8-24 shooting and classic ball-hogging certainly hasn’t been effective the past few games.

    • infectorman - May 2, 2013 at 4:36 PM

      well, well, well, Mrs Wright comes up from the underground.

      Since you were so conspicuously absent from the morning recap story on this very website detailing how you pretender Knick team got their asses handed to them on their own floor after making complete jack-asses out of themselves with their Houston Texansesque display of bush league dress up, we all thought maybe you were still pulling fragments of glass from your typing digits after you punched the screen of you ipad into submission.

      Glad to see you’re OK..

      care to offer another COMPLETELY INACCURATE PREDICTION on game 6?
      cause we all know, posterd from the 212 are ALWAYS accurate, right?

    • infectorman - May 2, 2013 at 4:36 PM

      well, well, well, Mrs Wright comes up from the underground.

      Since you were so conspicuously absent from the morning recap story on this very website detailing how you pretender Knick team got their asses handed to them on their own floor after making complete jack-asses out of themselves with their Houston Texansesque display of bush league dress up, we all thought maybe you were still pulling fragments of glass from your typing digits after you punched the screen of you ipad into submission.

      Glad to see you’re OK..

      care to offer another COMPLETELY INACCURATE PREDICTION on game 6?
      cause we all know, posters from the 212 are ALWAYS accurate, right?

    • erckle31 - May 2, 2013 at 6:00 PM

      Dude grow up, I’m a die hard Laker fan and I don’t even hate the Celtics like you do. Have some respect for a first ballot Hall of Famer. Melo may be good, but he’s had nothing to show for it yet, so quit you’re whining.

    • drewzducks - May 2, 2013 at 9:55 PM

      Fact: Nics haven’t won a title in 40 years and aren’t about to with this sorry group of scrubs. Fact: Melo is now and will always be a LOSER in the NBA unless he can team up with a Lebron type to drag him over the hump cuz everyone in the league knows that when it comes to crunch time in the post season, UNLIKE Pierce, Lebron and obviously Kobe, Melo’s little Spikes shrivel up under pressure. They might and should defeat the Geezers in Green but Fact; they will NEVER make it out of the East.

  3. jimmymarlinsfan - May 2, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    Celtics need to break up or they face what happened to them in the early 90’s when Dino Radja was their best player

    • eventhorizon04 - May 2, 2013 at 4:01 PM

      The tough part for fans in this situation is, he’s a face of their franchise, and he can still play at a high level.

      However, if Ainge wants to get decent value in a trade, he has to trade Pierce now while he can still play at a high level. If you wait until Pierce is no longer effective, it’s too late to use him to help kickstart a rebuild.

      • eventhorizon04 - May 2, 2013 at 4:13 PM

        If they keep Pierce, next year, the Celtics will have Rondo and Sullinger back from injury, and maybe Jeff Green doesn’t take half a season to establish himself. In that case, if KG and Pierce make it through the season healthy, the Celtics could make some noise next year in the playoffs – particularly if the Heat suffer a major injury to a member of their Big 3.

        However, if they trade away Pierce, they should be able to get some good assets like draft picks in return, and that sets them up better to contend in 2-3 years when Sullinger and Fab Melo are potentially better players. At that point, Wade, LeBron, and Bosh will 34, 31, and 32 years old, and maybe Ainge pulls off a big trade for an All-Star player in exchange for some of the Celtics’ younger assets.

        So Ainge could go for it in 2014, or aim to be better equipped to win in 2015/2016. I think either course of action would be justifiable.

  4. bradyisbetterthanrodgers - May 2, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    Mr wright

    Getting nervous?

    • Mr. Wright 212 - May 2, 2013 at 6:56 PM

      Not it the least. You juvenile types show how petty you think with these comments. We see how you are when your teams lose, and you think that my mindset is bottom rung like yours. Not so.

    • andyhr17 - May 2, 2013 at 7:30 PM

      See what happens when OUR teams lose? You jumped right on here and claimed the reason the Knicks lost was because of the refs. Do you even read what you type?

      • drewzducks - May 2, 2013 at 9:57 PM

        That’s because Dexter Manley was his English tutor.

  5. ss3walkman - May 2, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    They should have traded Pierce and KG before the deadline. I’m a big Boston fan but times are changing. They have two solid pieces in Rondo and Green to build around. Sullinger is also a good piece. All he needs to do is stay out of foul trouble.

    Maybe resign Pierce and trade him along with KG this time around

    • scalfor3 - May 2, 2013 at 3:51 PM

      Trade them for what? Do you really think overpaying Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan (who magically disappears into thin air every postseason) would make them a long-term contender?

  6. asublimeday - May 2, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    They’re not better than the bulls. Rose has proven that he can D-up rondo with the best of them.

    • andyhr17 - May 2, 2013 at 3:22 PM

      That may be true, but we’ll have to wait for him to be 275% healthy before he’ll get on the court again.

      • 4thquartermagic - May 2, 2013 at 5:41 PM

        According to Adidas he WILL in fact be 300% better when he decides he’s ready to put on some $150 kicks and tear the league (not his knee) up.

      • patfic15 - May 2, 2013 at 8:00 PM

        Lol. DRose…..Has he retired yet? When his team needs him most, there he sits…..

  7. jachaiss - May 2, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    Celtics is my team PP is my player, but they need to let go and build. Rando is a great foundation and seeing Green in the playoffs is great. But lets focus not he Celtics beating the Knicks. “Win 1 win the series”

  8. patfic15 - May 2, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    I’d like to see the guys stay, I don’t know what they would bring back in a trade. Ive watched the gang since 08, but it seems like it may be time to start over.

  9. supremekingz - May 2, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    The C’s are done. They’ve been done since letting go of Perkins. Nobody fears them anymore

    • andyhr17 - May 2, 2013 at 3:39 PM

      I seem to remember them going to the ECF last season without Perkins. If that’s your definition of “done” then I’m sure most of the teams in the league wish they were “done”

      • lakerluver - May 2, 2013 at 5:06 PM

        C’s fans just love to live in the past.

  10. loungefly74 - May 2, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    always tough when a “face of the franchise” is exiting. it will be interesting to see what happens…worst case (for C fans)?…PP signs with hometown Lakers for the minimum. LOL.

    • powerpc20 - May 2, 2013 at 5:17 PM

      Worst case for Lakers… Kobe gets amnestied, C’s pick him up. LOL.

      • lakerluver - May 2, 2013 at 7:01 PM

        Kobe would never put on those butt ugly green uniforms! He will retire a LAKER.

      • loungefly74 - May 4, 2013 at 9:24 AM

        touche’!

    • asimonetti88 - May 2, 2013 at 5:45 PM

      That would really help the Lakers get younger and more athletic, so I’m sure they’ll be all over it.

    • drewzducks - May 2, 2013 at 9:59 PM

      Can’t believe I’m saying this but if he wants to go out on top the Clips would be a better option for him.

  11. lakerluver - May 2, 2013 at 5:15 PM

    A handful of players in each sport deserve the privilege of retiring with the only team they’ve known (Jeter, Kobe, Brady). I put Paul in that category. If he wants to stay in Boston he should be given that opportunity. He has been great for the city and the franchise, helped them win a title, and is a HOF’er. Maybe his role might change but as long as he’s productive, and wants to be there, he should be given that opportunity.

  12. pantsfreezone - May 2, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    Pierce is broken. He needs to go somewhere he can be a catch and shoot option like a Mitch Richmond. I would love to see him traded to a bottom dweller team like the Bobcats. Never liked Pierce as a player, too much flop not enough pop.

    • Mr. Wright 212 - May 2, 2013 at 6:57 PM

      Can’t tell these bozos that.

  13. infectorman - May 2, 2013 at 7:45 PM

    Pierce is nowhere near the player he used to be, but he doesn’t do anything offensively that any other Superstar doesn’t do.
    Melo, looks weak and has no fluidity to his game. Looks like a linebacker plowing people over to make space for himself to chuck up another brick. Can’t play Defense to save his life.
    And yes, he pushes of all of the time and doesn’t get called for it because of his star power.
    His legacy will never even approach Pierces. Far too selfish and mopey like Eli Manning as he comes off he field after throwing ANOTHER pick with his shoulders all slumped in his little whiny way.

  14. bozosforall - May 2, 2013 at 10:48 PM

    Eli Manning? The same Eli Mannng that beat you loser Patsies not once but twice in the Super Bowl? Keep on crying like the little wuss that you will always be.

  15. j0esixpack - May 3, 2013 at 12:00 AM

    Pierce has had an historic career and it’d be great to see him retire a Celtic on his own terms.

    But if Ainge sees a good opportunity to build the next championship foundation by trading Pierce, I expect he’ll do it.

  16. scoutlukeprados - May 3, 2013 at 2:57 AM

    hard decision??? pierce sticks with the celtics during the dark ages, but the team aint sticking with him now?

  17. GT - May 3, 2013 at 10:22 AM

    MrsWrong thou dost protest too much

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