Paul Pierce spent the first 15 seasons of his NBA career as a member of the Boston Celtics, so it would make some sense that the All-Star swingman would enter retirement, whenever that may come, as a member of that organization. However, Pierce’s former head coach and current Los Angeles Clippers boss Doc Rivers suggested on Tuesday that Pierce could be obligated to do just that.
Chris Forsberg of ESPN brings word from Rivers, who expressed during a fundraiser in Boston that Pierce “has to” retire as a Celtic:
“I think it’s important. I think we have to do that. And I think we will. Danny [Ainge] and 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.”
It should be noted that Pierce is still an active player and the 38-year-old has a guaranteed contract for the 2016-2017 season. Still, there is speculation that Pierce could retire prior to training camp, and Rivers also weighed in on that particular decision for a player that he will always be linked to:
“Depends on the day I talk to him. Paul has had the summer, he’s gone back and forth. I think he has a right to do that. I really do. And so, you know, 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. 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.”
The entire situation is bizarre in that Rivers currently acts as Pierce’s coach while working for an entirely different franchise, but conventional wisdom would indicate that Pierce would potentially ride off into the sunset with a one-day contract (or something to that effect) in Boston. Still, we are a long way from Pierce even announcing his retirement, much less boarding a plane to Boston, so the tone is unquestionably interesting from his current boss.