Paul Pierce on continuing career: ‘I can still play this game”


When the Washington Wizards were eliminated from the 2015 NBA Playoffs at the hands of the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference semi-finals, Paul Pierce sounded like he was at the end of an impressive NBA career.

A superstar in the early to mid-2000s and co-star alongside Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen en route to a championship in 2008, transitioning into full-time role player alongside John Wall and Bradley Beal in Washington after a forgettable year with the Brooklyn Nets was far from rough compared to some older peers (Bryant, Garnett). And in the playoffs, if any doubts stood that Pierce could still play the game, they were shattered as, countless times, the veteran forward put the Wizards on his back.

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  • Now, entering what would be the 18th year of his NBA career, Pierce believes he still has it in him to perform IF he decides to return. “This last playoffs really took a lot out of me, not only physically but emotionally, because I think I put so much into the game that it takes a piece of you,” said Pierce, on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio. “It’s really all got to do with how my mental state of mind’s gonna be this summer. Because I do feel like I can still play this game.”

    “I mean, I showed that this year, that I still have something left in the tank. But it’s just the mental part of getting ready in the summer and getting ready for a long year. Those are the things I’ve got to think about.”

    If Pierce is to return for another season, finding suitors won’t be an issue after averaging 14.6 points on 48% shooting and 4.2 rebounds in the playoffs. The question of late is if Pierce returns, who he returns to.

    As expected (and has been reported), the Clippers will be one of the many team courting his talents, but this isn’t guaranteed as Pierce could opt into the final year of his contract via a player option worth $5.3 million, an amount higher than what he’d fetch playing for former coach Doc Rivers in his hometown L.A.

    While the Clippers are undoubtedly the more talented team — especially if DeAndre Jordan (unrestricted free agent) returns — the disparity in conference talent could be reason enough for Paul to stick to the East, whether it be with the Wizards or elsewhere. The Wizards, playing with a banged up John Wall, were five quarters away from taking on a Cleveland Cavaliers team without its starting power forward Kevin Love (shoulder) and a gimpy Kyrie Irving (ankle, leg, etc.) in the Eastern Conference finals, one the Wizards believe they could’ve given a better fight than the Atlanta Hawks.

    “Yeah, he’ll be talking to y’all right now,” said Bradley Beal to Stephen A Smith on ESPN’s First Take when asked where LeBron James would be had Cleveland faced the Wizards instead of the Hawks in the ECF  “Wishful thinking.”

    In regards to Pierce continuing his career, we now play the waiting game with the 1x NBA champion. As stated above he has it in him to contribute one more year, whether in LA, Washington, or maybe even in a one-year return to Boston where he spent the bulk of his career.

    It’s just a matter of making it through the dreaded off-season.

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