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BOSTON (CBS) – It’s a grim reality that none of the Boston Celtics want to hear about right now, but Wednesday night could be the final time they play this season.
And for some, it could be the final time they put on a Celtics uniform.
Whenever the Celtics are eliminated from the playoffs, which looks to be sooner rather than later as they trail the Knicks 3-1 heading into tonight’s Game 5 in New York, they’ll enter an offseason of uncertainty.
That includes captain Paul Pierce, who has donned a Celtics jersey for all 15 seasons of his NBA career. Pierce is set to make $15.3 million next season, the final year of a four-year, $61.3 million extension he signed back in 2010. Only $5 million of that is guaranteed though, so there is a chance the Celtics may part ways with their captain.
But Pierce isn’t concerned about that far down the road. He is focused on Wednesday night’s Game 5, and will leave the offseason decisions up to the team.
“Truthfully, I haven’t put too much thought into it,” Pierce said of his future at Wednesday’s morning shootaround in New York. ”The organization is going to do what they’re going to do. There’s nothing that’s stressing me out. That’s what it is. Every year they’ve got decisions to make and those are their decisions. So I’ll leave it to them.”
“I always said I want to end my career as a Celtic,” Pierce continued. “I have a contract for next year, but it’s not guaranteed. So the decision is in their hands. Whatever decisions they make, maybe if they trade me somewhere or I end up somewhere else, maybe it can be a situation where I come back for a one-day deal and retire a Celtic.”
“I’ve always been a guy that said, ‘Things happen for a reason,’” he said. “I was the No. 10 pick (back in the 1998 draft) — I didn’t anticipate that. I’ve just always felt like, throughout my whole career, everything is going to fall into the right place for me. So I don’t really put much thought into after the season. But I know at the end of the day, whatever they do, whatever I do, it’s going to fall in the right place for me.”
Pierce led the way for the Celtics in the regular season averaging 18.6 points per game, and leads the team with 21.3 points per game in the postseason.