Instead of finishing his career with the only team he’s ever played for, the Boston Celtics, Paul Pierce was traded, along with Paul Pierce and Jason Terry, to the Brooklyn Nets, which does promise him winning more games next season, but also leaves him quite disappointed with the franchise he thought he’d be with for life.
According to Doc Rivers, speaking to Newsday (although not a lot of what Rivers has been saying over the last month or so sounds like the truth), Pierce wanted to stay with the Celtics but they wouldn’t allow him to. On the other hand, Rivers thinks that being on a team like the Nets, with their chances of being a serious contender in the East and playing next to Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry for another season might breathe new life into him when he reaches the final stage of his career.
The way Pierce should see it? The Celtics did him a favor. They weren’t going to pay him the $15.3 million he’s owed next season, and had a chance to release him, paying him only about a third of that money. That might have given Pierce a chance to choose his next team, but playing for the Nets on a loaded roster, probably the fourth best in the East, while remaining on the same salary he’s been on for the last three seasons.
Pierce might be angry the Celtics didn’t think he, and whatever it is that was left on the Celtics, could have another playoff season in them, but even with Rajon Rondo, the Celtics’ ceiling wasn’t higher than a first round playoff exit next season. The Celtics might have kept the core together if Doc Rivers hadn’t bolted on them, but with Rajon Rondo keeping Rivers and previously Allen away from the team, not to mention Rivers’ own desire to remain a head coach of a winning team and not one going into rebuilding mode, the Celtics seemed to have no option but to blow up their roster.
Maybe Pierce is harboring some negative feelings towards the organization he played on for 15 seasons, winning an NBA title with in 2008. But the root of the roster being decimated begins and ends with three people – Danny Ainge in the front office, who is the one pulling the trigger on these decisions, and probably realized he has kept this roster one year over its expiration date; Doc Rivers, for bolting on a team he knew was going into rebuilding at some point during his contract extension; and Rajon Rondo, who just isn’t the guy the Celtics should have believed in to lead them when the Big Three evaporate.