Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Truth is... Pierce May Return to Boston, but What Are the Odds???

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Since the Boston’s first round exit  from the NBA Playoffs, most Celtics fans switched from rooting for their hometown team, to rooting for the hometown team’s former legend, Paul Pierce. We all watched "The Truth" turn back the clock this postseason when he dismantled the Toronto Raptors. Then he showed why he's still deserves the clutch tag against the Hawks with a couple of buzzer beaters.

We all know how it ended for Pierce and the Wizards, and all know that this would have been one million times better if he was still doing this in Celtics Green. That brings us to now and what he will do this off season. He has a player option and technically has the choice of doing whatever he wants at this point. So who knows what he plans to do but lets put some odds and perspective on what may or may not happen in the upcoming months.

Retire: 15%

Paul Pierce, who has played for 17 seasons and logged over 50,000 minutes, is now contemplating retirement.  He had some pretty candid comments after the crushing season ending loss. "I don't even know if I am going to play basketball anymore. These seasons get harder and harder every year, every day. Summers get even harder when you start getting back in shape. I'm 37 years old. I'm top two or three oldest in the league."
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Yeah, I’m not buying it. Pierce just came off a two series playoff run that re-iterated his status in the league as one of the most clutch guys out there. His swag and trash talk is cranked up to 11 right now. He’s got a flair for the dramatic, so my guess is he’s just planting a seed so that more and more people talk about it. He’s not going to retire, at most he’ll wait and see how the NBA landscape shapes up and be a late addition.

Re-sign with the Wizards: 40%

The reason this was brought up in the first place is the fact that Pierce has a Player option to re-sign with the Wizards for one more year at $5.5 million. He has just experienced great success with the Wizards in the playoffs where he was called upon to be the Hero. The fans love him in Washington and it makes logical sense for him to return.

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John Wall will hopefully be healthy, Bradley Beal looks like he is about to have his breakout season, and they have enough bigs to compete in the Eastern Conference. He probably will only get 5.5 mill with the Wizards unless a team over pays for him. I am leaning slightly towards The Truth returning to the Wizards for his final season over the next option but not by much.

Opt-out and sign with the Celtics: 34%

What better way to end a Hall of Fame career than to go back to the team that drafted you.  Pierce is an all-time Celtics and if we are playing the nostalgia card or trying to write a story book ending to his career, Boston would be the obvious choice. Besides how great it would be to see Pierce retire in a Celtics uniform, it also makes logical sense for both him and the Celtics.

Pierce wants to be competitive and be on a team that tries every single night. As we learned from his harsh words toward his time in Brooklyn, not every contending team is a competitive group of guys.  Putting the Boston connection aside, the way the Celtics proved last year that they compete every night and really embodied the never say die attitude would be really attractive to a veteran like Pierce. Personally, I think Pierce and Brad Stevens would be relaying the same message every day and would really gel as a coach-player coach duo.

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From the Celtics point of view, it makes the most sense in the world. Obviously, Pierce cannot be the biggest addition of the off season for the Celtics but if he is a complimentary piece the Celtics would be a legit contender. What if they added a DeMarcus Cousins/Kevin Love/LaMarcus Aldridge type guy and then picked up Pierce as a role player? Not only would they be adding one of the best closers in the league, but also rewarding fans who may still feel spurned by the trade that sent away Pierce in the first place.

It makes way too much sense for it not to cross Pierce and Danny Ainge’s mind.

Join a “championship contender”: 10%

The Warriors, Grizzlies, Clippers, Rockets, Thunder, and even the Spurs out West would benefit greatly with the addition of Pierce. All of these teams realistically have a good enough team to compete for a championship, but are all searching for that on piece to put them over the top. Pierce could certainly be that guy, and he would be cheap as most of these team would have salary cap restrictions. All of these teams would be a good logical fit for Pierce in the last year of his career, but the reason my percentage is so low is because they all play in the West.  Why would Pierce who played his entire career in the Eastern Conference suddenly go out west where really good teams don’t make the playoffs because it’s so stacked?  It’s a huge hurdle for this option to be realistic.

Join KG in Minnesota: 1%

Yeah, probably not going to happen, but it would be pretty cool for them to join up again. Plus with Andrew Wiggins emerging as a superstar, and the Karl Anthony Towns/Jalil Okafor it would be a very fun team to watch at the very least. The only problem is Minnesota plays in the Western Conference and Pierce would be silly to leave the East if the playoffs were his goal. Added Bonus here for the Celtics though is that it would increase the chances that Minnesota’s 2016 first round draft pick that the Celtics own is top 12 protected, Pierce, KG and Wiggins could help the Celtics case here.

Join LeBron James: 0%

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I was planning on only putting this option in for the personal satisfaction of putting 0% next to LeBron James.  But when I wrote it I thought of the most diabolical plan, that even may be above Pierce’s current Heel status. Join LeBron and the Cavs. Before the season just pump LeBron’s tires up with comments like “oh, he’s the best ever” and “it is such a privilege to play with ‘The King’then first loss of the year just come out to the media and blow the whole thing up. Talk about how much of a whiner LeBron is, how he is a horrible teammate, and how he’s extremely overrated. It would be the perfect Heel status solidified. He’d go down as the biggest villain in NBA history, and truly cement himself into Boston Sports History Lore.  He’d obviously get waived, join the Celtics, and then take down LeBron and the Cavs in the Eastern Conference finals in the most watched and anticipated ECF matchup ever.

Just because my brain thought of this option, I’m changing my prediction to 0.000001%.

-Sean Dutra

Follow me on Twitter:@SeanDutra

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