Paul Pierce gave his first interview of the offseason to Molly McGrath over at Celtics.com where he offered his thoughts on a multitude of topics, including the departure of former Celtic Ray Allen:
“It’s going to be a little weird. Ray made the best decision for him. That’s what it is all about. When you are a free agent you make the best decision for you. He’ll always be a brother for me. If it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t be wearing a championship ring. I’m a little bitter he went to Miami, but he’s still a brother of mine.”
Pierce appeared really sincere as he said this and bitter seems like the right word to describe the sentiment surrounding Ray Allen. I know we’ve beaten this topic to death, but the NBA is a business and as Pierce said Ray had to make the best decision for him. That doesn’t mean you can’t be bitter about how it all went down, but at the same time Ray’s decision doesn’t erase all the good he did for this team either. When asked about the Celtics future Pierce seemed a lot more upbeat:
“I love what Danny has been able to do. It was a tough decision this summer. It was a domino effect. Once we signed Kevin, we knew we were going to make another run at it. I thought Danny did a great job replacing Ray Allen. I thought the guys that are coming in here, Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, a healthy Jeff Green, even the rookies, I think it’s going to take a lot of pressure off me this upcoming season.”
Pierce seems just as optimistic as we are; this years bench is a clear upgrade from last years. Danny worked a fair bit of magic this summer and managed to build towards the Celtics future, while creating a bench good enough to help extend Pierce and Garnett’s title window a few more years. When you turn Ray Allen into Jason Terry and Courtney Lee, add Jeff Green and a few quality bigs, you have to feel pretty good about this offseason, all things considered. And for those of you wondering about the captain’s knee, he’s getting there:
“The knee is a lot better. It’s not completely healed, but I figure it’s about 90 percent now. I’ve been doing a lot of things to strengthen it so I can come back stronger. It really hampered me for the last 10-15 games of the year. I couldn’t explode like I wanted to, but everyone is hurt at that point in the year.”
With plenty of time remaining before the regular season, Pierce and his knee should be ready to go by the time training camp rolls around.