The Wizards were in Boston last night, which meant Paul Pierce was facing his former team. Except, this was the first time he’d played them without Rajon Rondo on the sideline or donning the green and white. Rondo was traded to Dallas last week, and Pierce had conflicting feelings on the move.
The Truth had 17 points off the bench in Washington’s 101-88 win, but it was his reaction to the Rondo trade that had the most oomph, since he’s still a minor deity along Causeway Street.
When Pierce first responds to the question about Rondo’s trade, by way of Eye on Basketball, he’s tepid about his surprise once the trade was announced.
Pierce tells the Boston Herald‘s Steve Bulpett, “I was a little bit surprised, especially because trade season starts close to All-Star or after All-Star break. Not a lot of trades happen in mid-December. You know, teams are trying to find their stride.”
But his alarm at the move seems more jarring then Pierce first lets on. The Wizards forward mentions discussing the trade on the group text he does with Rondo, Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Garnett, and while he understands the move, but still wasn’t ready for it:
“But we had a chance to talk. We had our weekly mass text, and he understood the situation. The Celtics were either going to go in one direction, build around him, or continue with the youth movement. So I think Rondo understood it.
“I was shocked definitely, because I thought this was a year they were going to maybe this summer find some pieces to put around him. But he had a great run in Boston, and as long as he’s happy, that’s all that matters.”
“And Danny (Ainge, the Celts’ president of basketball operations) and Wyc (Grousbeck, a co-owner), they’ve got to make business moves. You know, ‘Do we pay Rondo for the long term and still not be able to build around him, or do we build around the young guys that we’ve got here.’ It’s a tough decision when you’re in that situation as a general manager or owner.”
“That’s the way it is,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a long time before you see one player stay with one team for 15-plus years. You know, I think those days are pretty much gone, especially with the new collective bargaining agreement, players wanting to be in different places or play with their friends. It’s just a new era I think we’re living in. You’re not going to see one player stay with one franchise I think ever again for that long.”
The player’s refrain: “At the end of the day, it’s a business,” is never more apparent then with the departures of Pierce and Rondo from Boston. Danny Ainge remembers the early 90s Celtics holding on too long to the Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish triumvirate, and he was determined in his role as Celtics GM to get them started on a rebuild when it became apparent they could no longer compete for a title with their old crop of stars.
This sucks for fans, but we think Pierce is clairvoyant in that final graph. It is a new era with the current CBA, one where players — even stars — are a lot more likely to switch teams, then stay with the same group throughout their careers.
Were you surprised by the Rondo deal?
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