Rumors have been flying and swirling around regarding Boston's intentions with long-time forward Paul Pierce. Many believe Boston will buy out the remaining year at $15.3 million because Pierce's contract is only guaranteed for $4 million for next season. If that were to happen, it would be an unfortunate way for Pierce's 15-year run in Boston to end — especially after everything he has gon through with that franchise.
Celtics general manager Danny Ainge is trying to get out ahead of the rumors and put the kibosh on any thought a decision has been made on Pierce's future.
Ainge told A. Sherod Blakely of Comcast SportsNet that the report the Celtics had made a decision did not surprise him and that no decision has been made. Instead, he is opting to "let the speculation continue."
Pierce averaged 18.6 points per game for the Celtics last year, posting a 19.1 PER. While his shooting percentage has gone down and he has clearly slowed down some, Pierce can still be a very effective player. Throughout the Playoffs, with Rajon Rondo out and an inconsistent bench, it was Pierce carrying the Celtics through.
Pierce and veteran Kevin Garnett have also formed a special bond together and are still a duo that deserves an opponent's attention despite their advancing age. Both seem to know the end of their careers are coming. And both seem to know their futures in Boston are coming to a head.
That is because the Celtics have a shade more than $76 million committed to next year's team according to ShamSports.com and about $52 million committed to 2015 without player options. Boston will not come into any kind of serious cap room for about two years. Hoping to improve the roster may require the Celtics part with Pierce, Garnett or both.
Then again, Boston could always use another nostalgia tour and stay relevant, if not in the title hunt, until their aging duo decide to hang it up and leave on their own terms.