Mike Gorman appeared on 98.5 The Sports Hub this morning and said he believes the Boston Celtics want Paul Pierce to remain a Celtic until the day he decides to retire. (Listen to the full audio here)
“Everything I’ve heard from Celtic coaching staff and Celtic ownership — they really want to see Paul Pierce play his entire career as a Celtic. I get no indication the Celtics have shopped Paul seriously. Danny will talk about it, and that’s kind of his job as the guy who runs basketball operations,” Gorman said.
My roommate and I had an argument the other night about the Paul Pierce dilemma. If the Celtics trade Pierce now, with two seasons remaining on his contract, they can compile further assets to rebuild around Rajon Rondo. If the Celtics keep Pierce, he can retire as a Celtic, an honor he has probably earned by playing his entire career to date in Boston and becoming the second-leading scorer in franchise history.
“You’re buggin’,” my roommate told me. “They need to ship his ass away. Did you see him struggling in the playoffs? You don’t want to pay him $15 million when he’s 36 years old. Trade him now while his stock’s still high and get something in return.”
“But why? So they can earn the 6th or 7th seed in next year’s playoffs and speed up the rebuilding process by a year or two? Is that worth shipping away the greatest Celtic of our generation, a guy who became a man in Boston, who went through some rough times early but now typifies everything we want from a Celtic?”
“He just shot 38.6 percent in the playoffs. He got torched by LeBron James. The 2011-12 season was his most up-and-down yet. And he’s on the books for $33 million over the next two seasons. I know the Celtics defied expectations this season, but they aren’t contending for a title next year. So why not trade Pierce for young talent and/or draft picks?”
“Because loyalty matters. Because I wouldn’t want that scraggly facial hair representing any other team. Because it’s incredibly rare these days for players to spend their entire careers in one place, and Pierce has a chance to do that. Because if I ever saw him hitting a game-winning stepback jumper in another jersey, I might run straight into oncoming traffic. Because $33 million isn’t a lot to spend for a player who was Boston’s one shining light during the franchise’s roughest years, who redefined himself later in his career to better accentuate Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, who was the 2008 Finals MVP and has hit so many big goddamn shots in his career. What would people have thought if Red Auerbach had traded John Havlicek to the New York Knicks? If Larry Bird had been traded later in his career? Some guys should forever be untradeable, regardless of how dealing them might help a team, because of everything they’ve accomplished. Pierce has joined that rarefied air.”
“But the Celtics could probably help themselves by trading him.”
“It doesn’t matter. Some things are more important than wins.”
“Not in Boston.”
“Especially in Boston.”