The Nets made a big move last offseason, bringing in Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett at the steep price of 3 draft picks (and the right two swap a 4th pick). The goal was a championship, or at least to take down the defending Champion Heat. They fell short of that goal last night and now the question remains. What's next for Pierce and KG?
Paul Pierce is a free agent and is free to sign anywhere he wants. So far he's non-committal about where he thinks he'll land but he does want to play for at least another year.
"I haven't really put much thought into it," Pierce said of what his future holds and if he wants to remain a Net. "I put my whole focus into this season, it's my last year of the contract. I will sit back and talk to the family and see where my options are from there and go from there." Pierce, 36, will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and the Nets own his Bird Rights, which allows them to offer him more money than any other team. "I think I still have something in the tank I can give a team," he added. "Maybe one or two (years) at the most."
One of the more likely place for him to land is right back with Brooklyn. They have his Bird Rights and can pay him more than most contenders can afford. Another option is to head to his hometown LA to play with Doc Rivers for the Clippers.
Of course most around here are wondering (and hoping) that he'll consider returning to Boston to finish out his career as a Celtic. When asked about it in March, he certainly sounded open to the idea.
"Yeah, why not?" Pierce said when asked if he would possibly play for the Celtics again. "Maybe as a player, maybe as a coach. Who knows what the future holds?"
"Who knows? I may be working for [Celtics owner] Wyc Grousbeck or Danny Ainge," he said in the summer. "A lot of players don't understand it. I've always understood it. And [other players] let their pride and ego get in the way. I've made a lot of money here, I've built relationships, won a championship here, I thank y'all for everything y'all gave me. How can I be mad for everything they've given me. I'm thankful."
As for Kevin Garnett, he still has another year left on his contract at $12M. For most people that would be all the reason he needs to return next season. But this is a guy that has twice signed contracts of over $100M and really doesn't need the money. If and when he decides that he can't perform up to his own expectations anymore, there's no amount of money that's going to make a difference.
I have this picture in my mind of KG just texting his agent "I'm done" and walking away from the game forever. Vanishing into his own private world and only occasionally surfacing on his own terms in his own way. Part of that makes me sad, but I'd also be very happy for him since we all know how much he values his privacy.
Or you never know, if Pierce returns for another year, I could see Kevin signing up for another year as well. The Nets would surely like to get the most out of their draft pick investment. We just don't know what next year will hold for anyone (including the Miami Heat).
So we'll have to wait and see what's next for KG and Pierce. Here's hoping at least one of them comes "home" to Boston, but wherever they land, our hearts will be with them.