Danny Ainge pays tribute to Paul Pierce: ‘I think Paul could play for a few more years’
|09.26.16 at 6:09 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Danny Ainge had the chance to pay tribute to a pair of all-time greats that combined to bring home one title to Boston and nearly another.
Hours before Monday’s media day in Waltham, 38-year-old Paul Pierce announced that this season would be his last in the NBA after 19 seasons.
“Well, first of all, I think Paul could play for a few more years, but I’ll believe it when I see it,” the Celtics president of basketball operations said. “Paul loves the game. He loves basketball and I think that it’s hard to see him walking away. I know there will come a time when he will. He’s one of the great Celtics of all-time, he’s a great competitor.
“The thing that stands out more to me than anything about Paul — after all the great shots and great plays and everything else he did here — was just watching him, sitting right outside my office, seeing him come in at midnight and work on his game, work on his conditioning. He really loved the game and took it very seriously.”
Ainge was also asked about Kevin Garnett, who announced his retirement last week.
“I think I said in a statement that KG had as big an impact as anybody that I’ve been around in an organization,” Ainge said. “I think the thing that stands out the most to me about KG is just his team-first mentality. He never wanted it to be about KG. He never wanted his individual success to trump team success. He lived that in his day-to-day practice, and that’s something that I’ll remember about him.”
Will the numbers 34 and 5 wind up in the rafters?
“That’s for future discussion,” Ainge said. “I won’t answer that yet because we haven’t really discussed it internally. That’s a decision that Wyc and Rich will ultimately make. You guys know the answers to those anyway. We’ll just let the other people make those decisions, make those calls.”
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