BOSTON (CBS) — Paul Pierce knew it would be tough leaving Boston after spending the first 15 years of his career in Celtics’ green.
But it turns out, the move was a lot tougher than the former Finals MVP could have imagined.
“I thought after a few weeks I would be all right. Then all those feelings resurfaced when I went back to play there, then they come back again when I went back to play again. It was tough to even play in that building,” Pierce said in an interview with SI.com. “Every time you thought you put it behind you, it kept resurfacing. It was hard.”
Pierce was not alone in the move, as he was traded along with Kevin Garnett (and Jason Terry) to Brooklyn last summer for a slew of draft picks and role players that would fill out the rebuilding Celtics’ roster. Pierce had a lot of second thoughts about the move, especially when Brooklyn got off to a rough start to last season.
“It was a roller coaster, definitely. A lot of emotion went into it. Going through what we went through last year, I had a lot of thoughts like, ‘Shoot, I could have just stayed in Boston.’ [The Celtics] were going through some of the same things we were going through in Brooklyn,” he said. “The key was to stay positive. Times change, you have to move on, and that is what I eventually did.”
The Nets did make a playoff run last season, and advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals where they lost to the Miami Heat. Pierce moved on once again this summer, signing a two-year deal with the Washington Wizards. He said he nearly joined former Celtics head coach Doc Rivers in Los Angeles with the Clippers, but waited to see if Brooklyn wanted to keep him around and let him and KG have another run. That did not happen though, and because Pierce waited, he missed his chance to head to Los Angeles.
The former C’s captain is happy to be a member of the Wizards now, but as he’s said numerous times in the past, he would love to finish his career where it all started back in 1998.
“Definitely. Maybe as a player, maybe as a coach, maybe upstairs [in the front office],” he said. “I follow what they are doing. I went back to Boston twice this summer, went to their practice facility. I keep up with them.”
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