BOSTON (CBS) — When he does decide to call it a career, Paul Pierce is going to retire a Celtic.
That’s according to Doc Rivers, Pierce’s current coach and the man calling the shots for the L.A. Clippers. Rivers was back in Boston on Tuesday for the ABCD Hoop Dreams fundraiser at the TD Garden, an event comes back to town for every year. While Doc was yukking it up with reporters, the conversation turned to another potential Boston return.
Rivers said that when Pierce does decide to hang ’em up, he and the Celtics brass have already talked about letting “The Truth” return home to where it all began and retire as a Celtic on a one-day contract.
“I think it’s important,” Rivers told reporters. “I think we have to do that. And I think we will. Danny [Ainge] and Mike [Zarren], we’ve already talked. The day he retires he’s going to retire a Celtic. He has to. Paul’s a Celtic. So when he retires he’s got to retire as a Celtic. I don’t think anyone disagrees with me.”
The only thing up in the air right now is when Pierce’s retirement will actually occur. He is signed by the Clippers for two more seasons, and there have been reports that he will return for his 19th season in the NBA. However, Pierce hasn’t given Rivers any clear answer about his plans.
“It depends on the day I talk to him. Paul has gone back and forth, and he has a right to do that,” said Rivers. “Paul didn’t have the best year last year and I don’t think he wants to go out that way. That’s why he is working to come back, but he still might change his mind next week. We just have to wait. If I see him at training camp, I assume he’s playing.
“If I don’t think they can play, I tell them that. But I think Paul can play,” added Rivers. “I don’t know how much he’ll play, but he can play. It’s easy for someone else to tell you to retire, but that’s something the player has to come to himself.”
It was always assumed that something like an honorary retirement as a Celtic would happen for Pierce, after he spent the first 15 years of his career in Boston and cemented himself as one of the great scorers in the franchise’s long history. Pierce helped the Celtics capture the NBA title in 2008 with an MVP performance in the Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers, and ranks second on the team’s all-time scoring list behind John Havlicek.
So it would only be fitting that he ends his career in green — even if it’s just for a day.