When the Boston Celtics were dispatched by the New York Knicks in the first round of this year’s NBA Playoffs, to many it seemed pretty clear that it officially signaled the end of Boston’s run with their core players. The Celtics looked old, slow and were generally outmatched against the Knicks – something clearly needs to be done to make them competitive in the near future and beyond.
That “something” starts with their two aging superstars, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Right down to this season’s trade deadline Boston apparently considered trading Pierce and/or KG to various teams, so we know that the seeds of reality are there.
Now we get the rumor that Pierce himself doesn’t think he will be back in green and white next season, from a Celtics employee no less. This is what Boston sideline reporter Greg Dickerson said on CSNNE on Sunday:
“I don’t think they will (bring Pierce back),” Dickerson said Sunday on CSNNE. “And I know that the company that Paul Pierce hangs around in, they do not believe â€“ and I don’t think Paul Pierce believes â€“ that he is going to be brought back next year at $15 million. I know for a fact that people around Paul Pierce have pretty much resigned themselves to the fact that he’s played his final game in a Boston Celtics uniform. Again, Paul wants to stay â€“ obviously for $15 million, but he wants to finish his career in a Celtics uniform.”
The lone year remaining on Pierce’s contract can be bought out for $5 million. Asked whether he believes the Celtics will trade Pierce or buy him out, Dickerson said: “One way or the other. Probably a buyout. More than likely a buyout.”
If Pierce does not return, Kevin Garnett has indicated he won’t want to either.
“If Paul’s gone, I think without a doubt Kevin Garnett is gone â€“ either by retirement or he finally decides to waive his no-trade clause, and the Celtics maybe work something out with a (Los Angeles Clippers) team,” said Dickerson. “But the list is real short; the teams that Kevin Garnett would go to, there might be two of them on it, and they both might be the Clippers and (Los Angeles) Lakers.”
Before you scoff at getting your rumors from a sideline reporter, do keep in mind that he’s around the Celtics players, front office, friends and family all day every day. It’s totally conceivable that he has a good relationship with Pierce’s people, has for a long time and that the info is totally credible. I’d take that over some blog with no credibility throwing will nonsense out there to see what sticks. Why Dickerson would go on TV and spill that info in the face of his employer is a different story.
Whether it comes from Greg Dickerson or not, it actually does make a lot of sense for the Celtics to cut ties at this point. Purely from a business perspective (disregarding loyalty and emotion), knowing that you have to rebuild in the very near future, it makes way more sense to move Pierce now via trade or to buy him out at a reduced rate instead of paying the $15 million for one last season knowing full well that the team cannot compete at a high level. You could argue that they have waited way too long already and the time to truly start the rebuilding process is ASAP.
Here’s the video of the interview with Dickerson. If you hang in until the end, he takes a great shot at Stephen A. Smith: