Report: Paul Pierce believes he has played his final game with the Celtics

"It's not goodbye, it's see you later"

- Denzel Washington, John Q

After 15 years of giving everything to the Boston Celtics, Paul Pierce expects the team to part ways with him this off-season.

Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo! Sports wrote this article, which quoted CSNNE's Greg Dickerson on what people around Pierce are saying (Quoted from article by MassLive's Jay King)

"I don't think they will (bring Pierce back)," Dickerson said Sunday on CSNNE. "And I know that the company that Paul Pierce hangs around in, they do not believe – and I don't think Paul Pierce believes – that he is going to be brought back next year at $15 million.
"I know for a fact that people around Paul Pierce have pretty much resigned themselves to the fact that he's played his final game in a Boston Celtics uniform. Again, Paul wants to stay – obviously for $15 million, but he wants to finish his career in a Celtics uniform."


"If Paul's gone, I think without a doubt Kevin Garnett is gone – either by retirement or he finally decides to waive his no-trade clause, and the Celtics maybe work something out with a (Los Angeles Clippers) team," said Dickerson. "But the list is real short; the teams that Kevin Garnett would go to, there might be two of them on it, and they both might be the Clippers and (Los Angeles) Lakers."

As Dwyer points out, this is Dickerson thoughts on what people think Pierce is thinking, and not an ironclad report.

With that said, why wouldn't Pierce think exactly this? The writing is on the wall, and it seems the team is finally ready to put a bow on the Pierce era.

Danny Ainge has come out recently and stated that the Celtics, "aren't one player away", recognizing that this current core is just not championship caliber anymore. With that in mind, bringing Pierce back for $15 million is an extremely high price to pay.

At this point, it's more the emotional scar tissue that is holding back the Celtics from parting ways with Pierce, and that makes sense. After 15 years, 1,248 games, nearly 27,000 points, 10 All-Star games, a comeback from near deadly stab wounds, the Walker years, the rebuilding years, the golden years, one title and one Finals MVP..Pierce has earned the right to leave on his terms in many fans eyes.

I'm not here to tell those fans their wrong, after all, there are a lot of different ways to be a fan. Loyalty is an awesome trait, and many feel the Celtics owe Pierce the same loyalty he has shown the team over the past decade and a half. I get that.

But I disagree. The Celtics just completed year six of a three year window. They rode Pierce and Garnett as long as they possibly could, but it is time for a new era to begin. Considering Pierce's departure would also likely signal the end of KG in Boston, the move could instantly transform the Celtics from a team at the luxury tax level ($73 million in salary) to a team with $14 million cap space ($46 million in salary). While this year's crop of free agents (Al Jefferson and Josh Smith being the two names we've talked about most) may not be the answers long term, it's clear that Pierce and Garnett aren't either.

As much as it hurts, it's time to turn the page. To find out what the team has in Rajon Rondo as an alpha dog. To find out if Jeff Green is a legitimate All-Star talent, something he played like over the last 40 games this season. To find out if an under-28 core of Rondo-Bradley-Green-Sullinger-Bass-Lee with the #16 pick in the draft and $14 million in cap space can help form the next era of greatness, or whether a total strip down of the roster is in order. Pierce and Garnett have been so great, for so long, that we don't have answers to any of these questions. And if the C's bring them both back next year, another year goes by without us finding out.

Pierce is a Hall of Famer, and belongs on the Mount Rushmore of Celtics (Russell-Bird-Havlicek-Pierce), but it's time to part ways. As much as it stings, keep in ming that this isn't the final goodbye. Someday he'll return, sign a one day contract with the team, and have his number retired with the rest of the Celtic greats, and it will be like he never left. So remember, it's not goodbye, it's see you later.

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