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Doc Rivers didn’t want to see Paul Pierce leave the Celtics

Sep 12, 2013, 9:17 PM EDT

Boston Celtics small forward Paul Pierce and head coach Doc Rivers react during a break in fourth quarter action against the Miami Heat in Game 2 of their NBA Eastern Conference basketball playoff series in Miami Reuters

Paul Pierce played all 15 of his NBA seasons with the Celtics, before the team’s GM Danny Ainge decided it was time to enter a full-fledged rebuild, which meant ridding the club of expensive veteran salaries that remained on the roster.

Pierce and Kevin Garnett were traded to the Nets this offseason, and Doc Rivers — who spent the last nine seasons in Boston — ended up leaving too, for an opportunity to coach a contender in the Los Angeles Clippers.

But it wasn’t how Rivers wanted to see his former champions go out, especially in Pierce’s case.

From Justin Barrasso of

“I didn’t want Paul to go, even though I knew it was coming,” said Rivers. “That was a tough one for me. Even when I was here and it was being talked about — my thing is, Kobe [Bryant] is going to end up being a Laker for life.Dirk [Nowitzki] is going to be a Maverick. That’s the one thing that, if we didn’t do right, that was the one right thing we didn’t do for Paul.”

That’s the unfortunate side of the business of basketball — once veterans reach the twilight of their careers, teams need to start focusing on the future and need to begin making tough decisions.

I tend to side with Rivers here, though, in that Pierce and Garnett can still play, and with a healthy Rajon Rondo in place, Ainge could have brought everyone back for another run. It’s actually an easier decision to blow it all up, because there won’t be any scrutiny on the front office or expectations for success next season.

Pierce may indeed have deserved better, and to finish his Hall of Fame career as a Celtic. Only time will tell if Ainge made the correct decision in terms of when exactly to begin Boston’s rebuilding project.

  1. rjlink1 - Sep 12, 2013 at 10:20 PM

    I wonder if this will ever happen to Kobe or Dirk. It’s a special player who can still be so valuable to a franchise at the tail end of his career that trading or failing to re-sign him would be unthinkable. And the player himself has got to resist hanging on too long in the league by signing with another team at the end.

    • ghelton03 - Sep 12, 2013 at 10:30 PM

      I Like that Cuban has remained loyal to Dirk. However, he let a championship team walk out the door. He showed no loyalty to anyone (other than Dirk) that helped to bring a championship to Dallas. Kobe is a different story. It’s seems like the Lakers are afraid of Kobe.

  2. ghelton03 - Sep 12, 2013 at 10:20 PM

    Teams have NO loyalty to players. Their lack of loyalty is just written off as good business. However, players are expected to remain loyal even though it doesn’t make good business sense to them.

  3. 00maltliquor - Sep 12, 2013 at 10:47 PM

    Don’t forget Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and maybe even Tony Parker…

  4. legend30 - Sep 12, 2013 at 11:26 PM

    Why is Doc keep talking about KG and Pierce… Sounds like he wants to coach for the Nets – move on.

  5. knightrider1755 - Sep 13, 2013 at 1:34 AM

    Robert Parish played 14 years with the Celtics and helped them win 3 NBA titles yet ended up with the Hornets and the Bulls.

    • badintent - Sep 14, 2013 at 1:02 AM

      It’s the called the Patrick Ewing factor. Play a zillion years on one team, then play for anyone to keep cashing huge checks and listening to your dumb ego tell ya you still got game.

  6. giantssb42champs - Sep 13, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    This guy is really stuck in the past. It’s like Al Bundy reminiscing about his days as high school football star. Wake up Doc!

  7. wsuperman4445 - Sep 13, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    Now don’t get me wrong Doc is one of my favorite Coaches, but… he seems to have more time to talk about his past instead of his Future.. I would think with the added talent there and his Pat Riley like control now he would be talking about different situations to get them a title.. instead we have Reminisce,Reminisce!

    • badintent - Sep 14, 2013 at 1:04 AM

      Hey Doc Give it a rest please!! No wonder he talks him self hoarse by the first game of the season

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