Paul Pierce’s illustrious 15-season tenure with the Boston Celtics came to an end when he signed with the Brooklyn Nets for the 2013-14 season, but it seems The Truth still bleeds green. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Pierce, now of the Washington Wizards, expressed regret about signing with Brooklyn and described last season as a roller coaster and said he’ll “definitely” by back in Boston some day.
“A lot of emotion went into it. Going through what we went through last year, I had a lot of thoughts like, ‘Shoot, I could have just stayed in Boston,’” Pierce told SI.
Although Pierce left the only team he had ever played for because he wasn’t interested in sticking around for the rebuilding process the Celtics desperately needed, he also saw a reduced role during his season in Brooklyn, averaging a career-low 27.9 minutes and 9.5 FGA per game. It was the first time in his storied career that he played fewer than 33 minutes and dipped below 12 shots per contest. At that point, it’s fair for Pierce to question his very justification for leaving Boston.
But now, the 10-time All-Star, whose interest in the Wizards was piqued by the young guard core of John Wall and Bradley Beal, is adjusting to a role of mentorship with his new team. He is a veteran presence with championship experience whose game still demands respect: excluding the Nov. 1 contest against the Milwaukee Bucks in which Pierce was ejected near the end of the first half, Pierce is averaging 15.3 points per game while shooting 42 percent from the field and 43 percent from beyond the arc in about 32 minutes per contest.
The veteran again seems to be in an environment where he’s allowed to play his game without so many restrictions. But when asked if he’ll ever go back to Boston, Pierce, one of the pillars of the Celtic mystique, said he’s certain he will.
“Definitely. Maybe as a player, maybe as a coach, maybe upstairs [in the front office]. I follow what they are doing. I went back to Boston twice this summer, went to their practice facility. I keep up with them,” Pierce said.
Although nostalgists would love to see Pierce in Celtic green again, the rebuilding process that scared him off in the first place is still in full-swing. The team is experimenting with lineups, like the effective three-guard configuration that launched an unsuccessful but entertaining comeback attempt earlier this week against the Dallas Mavericks, and is playing at a faster pace than it has since Pierce left. Brad Stevens’ team is using 101.5 possessions per game, the third-highest mark in the NBA.
So while Boston may never put Pierce on the court again, perhaps he’ll follow the path of Celtic greats like Tommy Heinsohn and K.C. Jones before him and find his way to the sidelines. Whatever the case, the city in which Pierce built his Hallof-Fame resume – that he still clearly can’t take his mind off of – will definitely welcome him with open arms and have a reason to pull out the no. 34 jerseys again in the future.
What do you think?
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