Paul Pierce's clear preference is to win with the Celtics. If the team decides to rebuild rather than to reload, however, Pierce can see himself retiring or even in another jersey...
For the last couple of seasons now, the question facing Danny Ainge has been "rebuild, or reload?". This past off-season, the team committed to reloading, adding veteran players around our core. However, with the team playing mediocre basketball thus far this season, and with the season long injuries to Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger, many are questioning whether the team should begin the rebuilding process.
When asked about his future, Pierce made his preference very clear. He wants to win with the Celtics, but if he can't, then he'll consider other options.
“I mean, I really don’t want to be part of a rebuilding situation again. I just think at this point in time that’s something that would wear on me too much mentally that I don’t know what decision I may make if I have to. I may retire if I have to. You know, that’s something that’s a year-end process, especially given the situation that we have right now.”
According to Pierce, his call will be dictated by the direction the Celtics take moving forward. And while he has stated strongly that he would like to end his career with the club, he opened the door wide to the possibility he could finish elsewhere.
“It’s all on what they plan on doing,” said Pierce. “If they try to go into a rebuild mode, then, you know, I don’t know if I want to be a part of that. But that’s up to them and what they need to do. I don’t want to go out on a rebuild mode.
“I want an opportunity to at least try to win another championship, simple and plain. And if that’s not going to be here — if that’s going to be somewhere else — so be it. That’s what it has to be. I mean, even the greatest players played for other franchises."
I think this is the first time during the KG-era that we've heard Pierce talk openly about playing for another franchise. He's made it clear that he wants to retire in Boston, but it seems like that desire is contingent on the team remaining competitive.
I can't say that I blame him a lot. Rebuilding in the NBA almost necessarily involves losing. Pierce lived through the longest losing streak in team history, and was the centerpiece of a 24 win ball club in 2007. He knows it's no fun when fans are rooting for losses, and players are held out for extended periods of time with "injuries". If that's the type of rebuilding the team envisions, then Pierce rightly wants no part of it.
Pierce doesn't have a no-trade clause, so if Danny wants to trade him, the Captain will have no say in the matter. However, from my perspective I would feel better about any trade of Pierce knowing that it's something he wants. My hope is still the same as Pierce's, as I'd like to see the team remain competitive for the next couple of years. However, if that can't happen, then I'd be okay seeing Pierce go somewhere else to chase after another championship.