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NBA free agent rumor: Sources say the Clippers could be an option for Paul Pierce

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

A lot was made of Celtics guard Avery Bradley’s comments concerning Paul Pierce last Monday. In an interview with 98.5 the Sports Hub, Boston’s longest tenured member said:

I would love that (a Pierce return). To me, Paul is always going to be a Boston Celtic. The things that he’s been able to accomplish in his time here, it was just amazing. And I’m pretty sure all the Boston fans would love that, too.

Of course they would. Why wouldn’t they? Prior to the trade that sent both Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets during the 2013 NBA draft, the Kansas product acted as the face of the franchise for over a decade. He grew up here, quite literally survived here and finally achieved the ultimate goal of winning a championship in 2008—a true Celtics legend through and through.

But as wonderful as a homecoming would be, perhaps its time we temper our expectations so as to not get our hopes up. According to NBA.com’s David Aldridge, people around the NBA believe Pierce will opt out of his current contract with the Washington Wizards in order to return home to Los Angeles to play for former coach Doc Rivers and the Clippers.

The news shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The idea of Pierce playing for LA was kicked around last summer but the Clippers made it clear they were also looking for a backup big man. As a result, the money that could have been spent to bring Pierce in was given to Spencer Hawes. This offseason won’t be much different, though. If LA re-signs DeAndre Jordan to a max contract, the team will already be over the projected salary cap for next season with just six players on their roster. All they’ll have is a mid-level exception worth $3.7 million, as Aldridge explains, which Pierce would command most, if not all, of.

The Clippers are just one of a handful of obstacles getting in the way of a Celtics-Pierce reunion, however. Pierce hinted that he could be done playing basketball altogether after a stellar 17-year career just after losing to the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

And there’s always the possibility of Pierce giving it one last go-around with the Wiz. The Truth seems to relish in the opportunity to serve as a mentor for young studs like John Wall, Bradley Beal and even Otto Porter. At this point, any chance of Pierce returning to Boston will largely depend on what Danny Ainge does with the roster during the offseason.

Sure, Pierce enjoys being a veteran presence for younger teammates but he also knows that at 37 he only has so much time left to win another ring. "I would love for him to be a part of the Celtics again," Bradley said. "But I don’t really know what’s going to happen. I’m pretty sure every team in the NBA would love to have Paul Pierce on their team. I just wish the best for him."