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Crowdsourcing the Celtics: Pierce talks about his future. Here’s your take

John - Red's Army (@RedsArmy_John) May 1, 2013 Crowd-sourcing the Celtics, Paul Pierce 13 Comments

I’m not thrilled this came up today while this series, technically, is still going on…. but Paul Pierce was asked about his future as a Celtic.  Here’s part of what he said

“Truthfully, I haven’t put too much thought into [the future],” Pierce said at the team’s morning shootaround at Madison Square Garden. The Celtics and Knicks clash in Game 5 of an Eastern Conference first-round series on Wednesday night.

“The organization is going to do what they’re going to do. There’s nothing that’s stressing me out. That’s what it is. Every year they’ve got decisions to make and those are their decisions. So I’ll leave it to them.”

A few days ago, I put the question out to you guys via Twitter to answer the question:  What should Paul Pierce’s role be on the Celtics next year?  A lot of you answered, and here’s a sampling of those responses.  Keep in mind, these tweets I chose are representative of many similar sentiments.  Not everyone who answered is featured here, but we thank you all for your replies.

 

A couple of variations there of the “Pierce should hang them up” sentiment.  There are plenty of people who say that it’s time for him to go.  For what it’s worth, he’s not thinking along those lines:

“Well, I always said I want to end my career as a Celtic,” said Pierce. “But they’re the ones — I have a contract for next year, but it’s not guaranteed. So the decision is in their hands. Whatever decisions they make, maybe if they trade me somewhere or I end up somewhere else, maybe it can be a situation where I come back for a one-day deal and retire a Celtic.”

I’m pretty sure Pierce is going to play next year.  And while it’s very much up in the air as to what will happen to this Celtics roster, here’s one thing to consider: The Celtics payroll next year with Pierce is about $76 million.  Without Pierce it’s $61 million.  The salary cap this past season was $58 million. 

There’s a tax benefit to going next year without Pierce, but it’s not like giving up his $15 million deal give the Celtics $15 million to work with.  In fact, depending on other moves they make, it might not affect the amount of money the Celtics have to spend at all. 

A few people still like Pierce as the starter.  He is the captain.  And when you consider the financials from before, it makes some sense.  You can put him on the KG plan with more limited minutes.  Life changes with Rondo, though, back next year.  Your starting back court will be Rondo and Bradley.  Where does Pierce fit if Jeff Green has earned a spot as a starter?  Which brings us to…

This was a fairly popular answer, and this is where I’m starting to fall, especially when you take into account how well Jared Sullinger was playing.  Remember, he earned a starting spot too.  

Now we’re looking at a potential starting line up of Rondo, Bradley, Green, Sullinger, and Garnett.  For that to be effective, Bradley will have to really improve on his 3-point shooting so he could make teams pay from the corner.  You could play pick-and-pop with Sullinger and Garnett, and Green takes over the role of slasher.  Pierce can come off the bench early, but still be one of the team’s finisher’s, replacing either Bradley or Sullinger, depending on the situation (or Green, if need be).

Of course, this all speculation that hinges on a few assumptions.  We don’t know what’s going to happen yet.  Kevin Garnett could decide to retire and that would dramatically change the Celtics’ course of action.  It also assumes the Celtics could find a trade partner that they find suitable.  Pierce said today he fully plans on returning next season.  If the Celtics don’t want him, they’ll have to trade him.  Trading him means taking back approximately $15 million (unless they find something suitable with a team under the cap).

It’s very complicated, and the nuances are better suited for a piece later in the offseason.  For now, I’d anticipate Pierce coming back.  How he fits into the team next year will be an interesting thing to watch over the summer and fall.

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  • MS34

    I think that KG has been doing worse than Paul. Yes in the beginning of the year he had a great start, but where has his offense been this whole series? They are both hurt right now. I don’t think its fair to be talking trades, retirement and the like for Paul and not KG. I am a HUGE fan of Pierce and am in denial that he will leave so maybe that is where this rant is coming from but they are both near that age.

  • KGino

    He should definitely not retire. Not sure how any celtics fans can say that… There are plenty of 20 something year olds in the NBA who still can’t ball like the Truth

  • sgboston23

    I believe that KG and PP are both playing hurt. I also believe that neither of them are ready to hang them up, nor should they. I hope they both return, as they are invaluable as mentors to players like Green, Sully, Fab, etc.

  • eddysamson

    I like Pierce on the bench. I actually thought he might make the transition there this season, and who knows since his neck was bad maybe he would have if we didnt have so many injuries. I think Green can fill in well for Pierce as a random 3 shooter who has a better corner game so it will be about the same as this season in regards to that threat.

  • Lee in Oregon

    The Captain will be back next year. They don’t get financial relief if they buy him out, nor do they have anyone who can fill his shoes. Wyc has said many times, PP will retire as a Celtic, so I don’t think he minds writing the check for another 15 mil.

    As much as I love PP, I hate the 1-day contract thing. It’s about as real as AC Green’s consecutive games streak.

  • frickenWaaaltah

    Sunday he payed 49 minutes, had 29 points on 20 shots, 4 of 8 threes, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists. I mean come on, that just doesn’t read like the line of a guy who should retire.

    And how is trading him really supposed to make the team better? They couldn’t get anybody who could give them a line like he gave last game. They aren’t going to find another 4th quarter warrior they can get for him. They could get somebody younger, maybe a decent starter even, but nobody who is going to help them contend.

    So I think the only reason to trade Paul this summer is if he actually asks for it. Then you do it as a thank you. Otherwise, the offers just probably aren’t good enough to bother doing it.

    • Chief_00

      Well said let’s hope he retires in Celtic green though

  • http://twitter.com/REDSLOVECHILD RED`S LOVE CHILD

    There are no good options when it comes to Pierce…all are bad.

    Bringing him back at age 36 {for $15M} will make every “Celtic hater” jump for joy…dealing him to another team is comical given his non-existent trade value.

    Next year will be more of what we just witnessed…it`ll be another year of getting punished nightly on the boards, virtually no paint presence, and the mad scramble to lock up the 7th/8th seed before a lightening quick first round exit.

    • KGino

      Eff you. I can name 29 other NBA teams who’d be happy to have the warrior known as Paul Pierce on their squad. And last I checked, 6+ games is not a lightning quick exit.

      Go pray the celtics lose this series cuz I’m gonna go bananas on you again if they win for posting such crap about a team ur supposedly a fan of.

  • Chief_00

    Let him retire a Celtic first and foremost, and coming of the bench at this stage of his career is logical. Let green start and with sully and rondo back let the young guys of the future play. I could see pierce being a quite effective 6th man.

    • KGino

      Me too man… Professional scorer off the bench, I feel like he could find a new niche as our 6th man for 3 more years… Not sure what Paul thinks of that tho.

  • Astarot

    I’m anxious about the team where Green and Sullinger strating (Green up and down season and Sullinger coming from the injury) and well AB with his offense. What’s more top prioryty for this offseason is to get some bigs. KG with limited time will need help. Pierce off the bench is a good situation especially as a finisher in the 4th Q but the rest of the team is still unknown so it’s hard to say how important both KG and Pierce will be from the basketball standpoint cuz’ in terms of mentality their role will be crucial. Sure Rondo, AB and Sullinger are the future of this team but they need proper D-minded C and the bench to be competitive .

  • CoachAJ

    I anticipate PP will come off the bench, and be there when some instant offense is needed. He could create a goal of winning the 6th man award. As long as he plays fewer minutes than the starters. It could be the most positive sign towards the Celtics moving forward. And yes that starting lineup could be pretty good. But we would need to dip into the draft and pull another big, a center that could play immediately, so Doc wouldn’t have to/or feel compelled to go small so much. And KEEP Shav and TWill.