It’s the start of October and basketball is back before you know it. As NBA training camps are set to begin, we check in with Paul Pierce. The Boston Celtics were one win away from reaching the NBA Finals last year. Pierce is ready to begin another run at an NBA Championship alongside Kevin Garnett, but without long-time teammate Ray Allen, who left to join the Miami Heat.
Paul Pierce joined WEEI in Boston with The Big Show to discuss the possibility of him leaving the Boston Celtics if Kevin Garnett didn’t return to Boston this season, knowing that Kevin Garnett wouldn’t retire, knowing when he wants to retire from the Boston Celtics and Ray Allen leaving the Boston Celtics and joining the Miami Heat.
Doc Rivers said earlier today that it was a lie when you claimed you might not be back this year if Kevin Garnett wasn’t?
“Well I probably would have been traded if KG had retired. You know, they probably would have started rebuilding. I mean, there were a lot of trade rumors throughout the year and I thought just if they were going to go in that direction, I wasn’t mentally prepared for that after the last four years and having the opportunity to play for a championship. I’m turning 35 this year. I probably couldn’t make it through another rebuilding stage.”
There was some doubt that Kevin Garnett was coming back. Did you call him?
“I kind of knew towards the end of the year that KG was coming back. You could see it in his legs. You could see it in his face. You could see it in his spirit and just the way he plays it. When a player is playing at that level, how could you leave the game? Kevin’s been in the NBA since he was 18 years old. He doesn’t know anything else. What’s he going to do? To come out of high school and you’re doing a job for so long. It’s tough to walk away from and he’s playing at such a high level. I knew he would come back.”
You know when to call it quits. Will the reason be the body breaking down?
“You have to listen to your body. When you look at former players who walked away from the game, you always hear that they should have listened to their body a year earlier. It depends on how well my body responds and how I feel after an 82-game season. You have to just see and listen to your body and go from there.”
Ray Allen used to be a Celtic; now he is with the enemy in Miami. Are you still mad at him?
“Well it’s a little disappointing because I thought we built something special here with me, him and KG starting a championship run and bringing the Celtics back to life. That aspect is very disappointing. He is always going to be remembered here when you are walking through the hallway and you see the championship pictures of me and him and the rest of the guys. I love what he was able to do with his veteran leadership that he brought to the table, but at the end of the day, Ray had to do what was best for him and felt for him and his family and I really can’t say anything about it. Now when he comes here I will probably give him a few extra elbows or something, or a couple of hard fouls, but that’s all part of sports. They are the enemy, but Ray is a good friend of mine. Forever loved, but that’s something we’ll have to discuss after the game. During the game, I don’t know. I don’t think I’ll be texting him good luck anytime soon.