Like his team, Paul Pierce has yet to hit his stride this season. Pierce practiced just once prior to his first game and has been struggling to regain top form ever since returning to the lineup. He’s also begun smelling an unpleasant aroma that hadn’t invaded his nostrils in years — trade rumors.
Danny Ainge is reportedly thinking about blowing up Boston’s core, at least if he fields the right offer, and Pierce holds a considerable amount of trade value due to his standing as a professional scorer who still theoretically has a couple years left at the (very) tail end of his prime. (Don’t believe he’s still in his prime: check the efficiency numbers, at least prior to this season.)
But Pierce has only played for one NBA franchise and he wants to keep it that way. (transcript via ESPN Boston)
Q: There’s been talks about what might happen if team doesn’t turn things around. Does that affect you guys?
Pierce: “No, you can’t pay attention to that. It’s part of the business. You just have to continue to do your job, as a professional, each and every night. And that’s about it.”
Q: Does it make you want to turn it around to keep the core together?
Pierce: “What makes me want to play well is our record. That’s more than anything. I don’t really read the papers, I don’t really monitor everything that’s been said. I’m just more concerned about this group, what goes on in this locker room and with my teammates.”
Q: Is there a high level of concern at this point?
Pierce: “What did I say just now?” (laughs) “I didn’t say I was concerned. I said I’m just concerned with the boys in this room.”
Q: Any talks with coach Doc Rivers or Ainge about where you guys are at?
Pierce: “No, they understand. You know what the Celtics have done for me over my career, I’m more than happy. They kept me this long and I’ve been able to play in a lot of good situations. You gotta understand the business.”
Q: You’ve been down this road before.
Pierce: “It’s been a while since I’ve been down that road. But I don’t think about it actually.”
Q: You’ve said you want to retire as a Celtics, do you still feel that way?
Pierce: “Of course, I feel that way. Yeah.”