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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Pierce lands three-year extension

Boston forward to earn extra $59 million

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— Paul Pierce, the Boston Celtics captain whose prolific but occasionally troubled career put him on the trading blocks last summer, signed a three-year, $59 million contract extension Monday that would keep him in Boston through the 2010-11 season.

"This represents a milestone for the Celtics and for Paul Pierce," owner Wyc Grousbeck said. "Paul ... has become a team leader on and off the court in the best Celtic tradition."

Former Kansas University forward Pierce is scheduled to make about $31.5 million over the next two years, including a player option for 2007-08. The extension adds three years and $59 million after that.

A five-time All-Star, Pierce has played his entire, eight-year career with Boston and took over as co-captain in 2000. But his partnership with Antoine Walker failed to add to the team's record cache of 16 NBA titles, and Pierce struggled in his role as elder statesman after he and Walker were split up.

During the 2005 playoffs, Pierce was ejected in a bizarre and, in his words, "boneheaded" move during Game 6 of their first-round playoff series against Indiana. But he put his troubles aside last season and averaged a career-high 26.8 points with 6.7 rebounds and 4.7 assists, equaling Larry Bird with his fourth straight 2,000-point season.

"Paul is one of the greatest Celtics in the history of our franchise," basketball boss Danny Ainge said.

Pierce is the eighth-leading scorer in Celtics history. Last season, he led the team in scoring 63 times, in rebounds 26 times and in assists 31 times.

"The Celtics organization and the fans of Boston and New England have been great," Pierce said. "And now we can continue to strive to put the 17th championship banner up in the rafters."

Comments

jayhawkdan78 13 years, 6 months ago

YEAH RIGHT...get some help for paul and then we'll entertain some fantasy nba championship talk...and by help, i mean 4 other guys who can score the basketball

JayCeph 13 years, 6 months ago

JHD78 is right! Paul has been asked to carry that team (and although he has done a yeoman's job at that), he just doesn't have a real 'team' to make it to the next level in the NBA.

Congrats to him on the signing of that great contract... the kid has skills! Mad skills! I'm amazed that he has been able to be a productive as he has considering the damage he took in that knife attack a few years back. Class act...

jayhawkliz 13 years, 6 months ago

Congrats to Pierce. He has made the Jayhawk Nation proud! I am thrilled for him! The celtics need to get Hinrich with him. All ten of our players in the NBA have added to the KU PRIDE!

JBurtin 13 years, 6 months ago

Some of our former Jayhawks have been tossed around alot in the NBA (by no fault of their own). I think it's really cool to see guys like Pierce and Hinrich have some loyalty to their NBA teams. It bring back some of the old mistique where guys like Jordan, Bird, and Magic played nearly their entire careers with the same team. I get so sick of seeing players who are focused only on how much money they could be worth on the free market. It's to the point that nobody cares who wins the championship anymore. Instead you just root for the team where your favorite player happens to be for the moment.

actorman 13 years, 6 months ago

The first time I saw Pierce as a Jayhawk I thought he was going to be one of the best NBA players ever to come from KU. I'm thrilled to be proven right.

Kind of makes you wonder what the 'Hawks could have done if he'd stuck around one more year -- especially frustrating considering that he said if he had known about the lockout ahead of time he would have stayed for his senior year. It also makes you wonder what the other teams were smoking to let him go all the way down to tenth in the draft.

actorman 13 years, 6 months ago

It's interesting, but to me there's a similarity in the way LaFrentz was valued ahead of Pierce to the way Collison was valued ahead of Hinrich. I have always been completely mystified as to why Hinrich was not a first team All-American, especially after Vitale raved about him. (You'd think that alone would have gotten him in.) And Collison, as great as he was, did not have the complete game that Hinrich does. In fact, I saw it again last year, when Rush won freshman of the year. I thought it should have gone to Chalmers, who was far more consistent, especially in the last half of the year. It seems like once a player gets fit into a category, people tend to not look at the reality.

JBurtin 13 years, 6 months ago

A decent big man is hard to come by so the NBA tends to jump on anybody with potential at that position pretty early. Good guards and small forwards are definitely valuable to a team and can make them a contender, but a good big man wins championships. The Magic without Shaq are nobodies, the Lakers without Shaq are nobodies, and if the Heat didn't have Shaq, they wouldn't have a championship trophy right now. You just don't win championships with Lebrons, Kobes, and unfortunately probably not with Paul Pierces if you don't have the right big man to back them up underneath.

I would have to respectfully disagree about the Rush/Chalmers issue. Chalmers turned it up later in the season and made up alot of ground, but he was not as comfortable in the point guard position as you would expect a freshman of the year to be. Robinson had to save him and show him how it was done. Rush, on the other hand, looked the part of a solid freshman small forward from day one. There were alot of games (Oklahoma comes to mind) where Rush just took over and willed the team to victory. Chalmers always played hard but I don't think he took over games in that same way. That's just my two cents, I could be wrong.

actorman 13 years, 6 months ago

I think Lebowski said it best. I agree that Rush was the better player in certain parts of the game, but when it came down to crunch time he disappeared on more than one occasion and he seemed to get worse as the season went along, whereas Chalmers got better. I do think that Robinson was the MVP of the team, but as I recall Rush got that as well.

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