Paul Pierce has opted out of the final year of his contract, exercising an early termination option that will make him a free agent. By doing so, he forgoes the $21.5 million he was owed in 2010-2011.
Fans will view this one of two ways: With panic, or with calm trepidation. Me? I’m kind of calm right now. Pierce loves the Celtics. He wants to retire as a Celtic. He wants to be back in Boston, and he adores the thought of his one-team legacy. He understands the C’s have unfinished business. Just listen to this recent interview:
Pierce sure sounds like a guy who wants to stay in Boston, no? Plus, what team is going to offer him loads of money? He’s 32. He’s already started the decline. He can’t take over games nearly as often as he used to. He’s a step (or two) slower than he was in his prime. Even if teams strike out on the top-tier free agents, it’s going to be mighty difficult to convince their fanbase Pierce is the right option: We wanted Paul Pierce all along! Really! I know you people all thought Lebron was the best free agent out there, but Pierce has won a title! He’s the self-proclaimed best player in the world! With Pierce, Carlos Boozer and Danilo Gallinari, we’re going to make the first round every year for the next four years! Could it get any better than that????
So I’m still pretty sure Pierce will sign with the Celtics. I’m pretty sure the only reason he opted out was to restructure his contract.
I hope, at least. Marc Stein reported that Pierce will take other offers, and seeing Pierce wearing some other team’s colors would be like seeing Jack Bauer bomb the White House. The fact remains, though, that it’s now possible Pierce has played his last game as a Celtic. Damn, that’s a sobering thought.