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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Reports: Pierce staying in Boston

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— The Boston Celtics have agreed to terms with captain Paul Pierce on a deal that could keep the MVP of their 2008 title run with the team for another four seasons.

The contract was not announced, but it was confirmed to the Associated Press by a Celtics official familiar with the deal who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the free-agent signing period does not begin until Thursday.

“Both sides made it clear that staying together was best for the team,” the official said.

Terms of the contract were not immediately available. The Boston Herald, which first reported on the deal, says Pierce would get $61 million over four years, with a mutual option for the fourth year.

Celtics spokesman Jeff Twiss had no comment. Pierce’s agent, Jeff Schwartz, did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment.

Pierce has spent his entire 12-year career with the Celtics and is second only to Larry Bird among longtime Celtics in points per game. Pierce is also first in franchise history in three-pointers, second in steals, third in total points, eighth in games played and ninth in rebounds.

Pierce opted out of the final year of a contract that was to pay him $21.51 million next season. By re-signing quickly for less, he creates cap room, gets long-term security for himself and gives the team a chance to keep together the core of the 2008 champions for another run in 2010-11.

Coach Doc Rivers, who had been considering taking a year off, said this week he would return. Ray Allen, who is a free agent, has said he wants to return to Boston.

With Kevin Garnett under contract for two more years, that would preserve the new Big Three that led the Celtics to an NBA-record 17th championship two years ago. Garnett missed the 2009 playoffs because of a knee injury; the Celtics returned to the NBA finals this spring before losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in seven games.

Pierce, 32, was the 10th overall pick in the 1998 draft from Kansas University. He is the last remnant of the ill-fated Rick Pitino era, and his tenure stretches through two trips through the NBA lottery as the once-dynastic franchise tried to restore its former glory.

In 2007, after going 24-58 to earn the fifth overall pick in the draft, the Celtics considered trading Pierce and trying to rebuild with youth. Instead, they acquired Garnett and Allen and won the NBA title in their first year.

For Pierce, it meant giving up his role as a go-to guy who had averaged as many as 26.8 points per game. His numbers dropped — he averaged 19.5 points over the past three years — but the Celtics reached the NBA finals twice in three years.

Pierce has 19,899 points in 884 games, all for the Celtics.

Comments

JayHok 10 years, 9 months ago

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Dyrk Dugan 10 years, 9 months ago

it would be great to see Paul win another title in Boston. his legacy is already set...but to be mentioned along with the great ones. (Bird, Russell, Havlicek) he needs another one.

it's tough to talk sacrifice, when he'll still make $15 million per, but that is the word here.....he's making it possible for the Celtics to keep Ray Allen...and then go out and get a guy....either another low post scorer, or a lockdown defender who can pop a three. they need one of those.

They were so close this year, and again, they just didn't have that extra piece...because they just couldn't hold on long enough vs. the Lakers. two years ago, they just crushed L.A. in the last game...and this year, they couldn't even score 150 points combined in the last two games.

Let's just hope Boston leadership doesn't screw this up....Paul deserves the best they can offer.

jaybate 10 years, 9 months ago

Paul, go to the Lakers.

Doc good, but Phil da man.

Kevin Studer 10 years, 9 months ago

He took a pay cut, but come on. He would have to play for free for the Lakers. Besides, what lifelong Celtic would go to LA?

Don Everett 10 years, 9 months ago

jaybate - as usual, you're an idiot. Have phil jackson coach a team to the title without a star like mj or kobe, then come talk to me. Go coach the clippers or knicks the past couple years and help them win a title and then I'll become a believer.

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