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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
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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.”


Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Kevin Garnett, KG
Paul Pierce announces he will retire after this season at 9:45 am ET
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Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce kept it short, sweet and direct. He’s retiring after this season.

The soon-to-be 39-year-old announced on The Players’ Tribune website Monday morning that after this season with the Clippers he will be retiring. He accompanied a story with a tweet reading: “It’s time.”

There was speculation throughout most of the summer about whether Pierce would return for a final season after a noticeable decline in numbers last season, his first with the Clippers. He averaged a career-worst 6.1 points per game over 18.1 minutes in 68 games.

He makes no mention in the story of his time or future with the Celtics.

Doc Rivers, his current boss who also coached him with the Celtics, mentioned earlier this month that Pierce has “got to retire as a Celtic,” but should that come to fruition it will require some patience by Celtics fans.

Pierce grew up in Los Angeles and cited that in his story as well as the hunger and belief the Clippers have that they will win an NBA title.

With NBA training camps set to begin this week, Pierce is going to just enjoy the ride.

Said Pierce in his announcement, “After 18 NBA years, it’s hard to believe I’ll be playing in each arena for the last time. So I’m going to enjoy every practice, every bus ride, every team dinner, every time running out through the tunnel. I’m going to do my part to give us a shot at the ultimate goal.”

Read More: Los Angeles Clippers, Paul Pierce,
Doc Rivers on Paul Pierce: ‘When he retires, he’s got to retire as a Celtic’ 09.07.16 at 11:27 am ET
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Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce has not yet solidified his plans for the upcoming season, but if retirement is that decision, Pierce’s most recent (and most familiar) coach is encouraging him to do so as a member of the Celtics.

At Tuesday’s annual ABCD Hoops Dream fundraiser at TD Garden, Clippers coach Doc Rivers spoke to ESPN’s Chris Forsberg about the future of arguably the most prized player to wear green since the turn of the millennium, and he said Pierce should sign a one-day contract with the Celtics when he decides to hang up his sneakers.

“I think it’s important. I think we have to do that. And I think we will,” Rivers said. “Danny [Ainge] and [assistant GM] Mike [Zarren], we’ve already talked. The day he retires, he’s going to retire a Celtic. He has to. Paul’s a Celtic. So when he retires, he’s got to retire as a Celtic. I don’t think anyone disagrees with me.”

Should he return, Pierce will be playing in his 19th NBA season, 15 of which were with the Celtics. Last season with the Clippers was an underwhelming one, as the 38-year-old averaged just 6.1 points over 18.1 minutes per game.

“Paul didn’t have the best year last year. I don’t think he wants to go out that way. So I think that’s why he’s working to try to come back,” Rivers said. “But he still may change his mind next week. So we just have to wait. I told him if I see him at training camp, I’m assuming he’s playing.”

Rivers, who coached the Celtics from 2004 until 2013, when he left for the Clippers, said Pierce could still play at a high level should he come back.

“If I don’t think they can play, then I tell them that. But I think Paul can play,” Rivers said. “I don’t know how much he’ll play, but he can play. I’ve always thought it’s easy for someone else to tell you to retire; I think that’s something that the player has to come to by himself.”

In his frequent discussions with Pierce this offseason, Rivers said he’s heard different things about Pierce’s plan for 2016-17.

“Depends on the day I talk to him. Paul has had the summer, he’s gone back and forth,” Rivers said. “I think he has a right to do that. I really do.”

Rivers said he plans to speak with Pierce later this week but is not expecting a definitive answer.

Read More: Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce,
Report: Paul Pierce ‘leaning heavily’ toward return to Clippers 08.17.16 at 10:34 am ET
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Don’t grab those old Paul Pierce Celtics jerseys out of the cellar. It doesn’t look like a Boston return is going to happen.

Though never really rumored that a Pierce return was imminent — or even a likely, for that matter — there was some hope among C’s supporters that maybe, just maybe, the Truth would return for one final ride in green.

That does not look likely, per a tweet Tuesday night from Los Angeles Times basketball writer Brad Turner.

The 38-year-old certainly is not the same player who helped bring the Celtics Banner 17 in 2008. In his first season with the Clippers in 2015-16, Pierce averaged just 6.1 points in 18.1 minutes, shooting a horrid 36.3 percent from the field compared to a 44.7 marker his previous 17 seasons.

A return to the Clippers would mark the first time Pierce has stayed with a team for consecutive season since he played for the Celtics. After getting dealt to the Nets in the monumental trade that led to the Celtics drafting Jaylen Brown, Pierce played one year in Brooklyn then one year with the Wizards before landing with the Clippers.

Read More: Celtics, Clippers, Jaylen Brown, Paul Pierce
Former Celtics forward Paul Pierce reportedly intends to play in 2016-17 07.12.16 at 12:53 pm ET
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According to the L.A. Times, Clippers forward Paul Pierce intends to play in the 2016-17 season.

Pierce, who will turn 39 on Oct. 13, is now one of three active players drafted before 2000. He averaged 6.1 points per game in 18.1 minutes per game with the Clippers in his third year with three different teams. He only played 54 minutes during the playoffs.

The former Celtics forward was drafted by the Celtics 10th overall in the 1998 draft. He spent 14 years with the team, playing in ten All-Star teams and being named to four All-NBA teams.

He has said before that if he does play next season, it will certainly be his last in the league.

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Doc Rivers on Paul Pierce injury scare: ‘Of course, Laker fans, they were going to bring out a wheelchair’ 03.29.16 at 1:43 am ET
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Celtics forward Jonas Jerebko defends against Clippers forward Paul Pierce in the first half during the NBA game at the Staples Center. (Richard Mackson/USA Today Sports)

Celtics forward Jonas Jerebko defends against Clippers forward Paul Pierce in the first half Monday. (Richard Mackson/USA Today Sports)

Doc Rivers could laugh about it after his team’s 114-90 win over the Celtics on Monday night, but the moment Paul Pierce went down in the second quarter clutching his right knee, joking was the last thing from his mind. 

With just over two minutes left in the first half, Pierce drove to his left and lifted a finger roll to the basket that fell through for two points. But Pierce fell very awkwardly. He stayed on the floor for several minutes while trainers took a close look. He got up and limped off, later being diagnosed with a sprained ankle and just a bruise on his kneecap. 

“It’s his ankle, which is the good news because when he went down, I thought it was his knee,” Rivers said. “Of course, the Laker fans, they were going to bring out a wheelchair at some point. They didn’t do that so that was good. He’s going to be out for a little bit. We don’t know how long. It’s one of those things.

“When he went down, I thought it was his knee because he grabbed his knee. He said he grabbed his knee because he got kneed and he hit [the floor]. The pain was there [in knee] but he twisted his ankle.” 

Of course, the incident Rivers was referring to was Game 1 of the 2008 NBA finals when Kobe Bryant drove to the basket and scored in the third quarter. Kendrick Perkins came down on Pierce’s right leg and Pierce fell on the baseline, clutching his right knee. He left in a wheelchair, only to return in Willis Reed-style later in Game 1.

Rivers was relieved to find out from his staff in the second half that the Clippers had dodged a bullet. And while he may be out for the final two weeks of the regular season, Rivers and the Clippers sounded hopeful Pierce would return by the playoffs. 

“For a second, when he grabbed his knee, I definitely thought, ‘Oh boy.’ Then I’m thinking, ‘Against the Celtics.’ I was thinking, ‘No.’ It didn’t happen, so that’s good,” Rivers said. 

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Read More: 2008 NBA Finals, Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Los Angeles Clippers
Paul Pierce: ‘It might be the last time I’m back’ 02.10.16 at 8:06 pm ET
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As Paul Pierce returned to TD Garden as a member of the Clippers, the 18-year veteran said Wednesday’s game against the Celtics might be the last time he plays in Boston.

“It could be, Pierce said before the game. “I’m not 100 percent sure, but, you know, like I’ve been saying the last two years, I’m taking it year by year, and this could possibly be.”

For 15 seasons, Pierce called Boston his home, and he climbed to second on the team’s career scoring list. Although it’s been nearly three years since he last played a game in a Celtics uniform, coming back to TD Garden as a member of the visiting team is still odd for the veteran.

“I think the weird thing is just being on this side of the bench and this side of the locker room,” Pierce explained. “The locker room is a little weird. I used to walk up the stairs and take a right instead of a left. It’s fun I get to enjoy it because it might be the last time I’m back.”

Pierce also discussed former teammate Kevin Garnett, who he’s kept in contact with despite going their separate ways.

“Usually all we talk about is family,” Pierce said with a laugh. “Kevin is doing good. I always ask if this is it for him; he’s still undecided. Kevin said he was going to retire the last five years in a row and always came back, so I don’t know what he’s planning. We stay in good contact, as do a lot of us — Rondo, the guys who we’ve played with — so I don’t know what his plans are like, and I don’t know what I’m going to do, but it could be the last time.” Read the rest of this entry »

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