Given age and contract situations among the Boston Celtics’ “Big Three,” it’s common opinion that among Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, that Pierce would be the one that remains in Celtics green the longest.
Yet Pierce recently raised some eyebrows, when he told the Boston Herald‘s Steve Bulpett that he may consider retirement at the end of the season.
Well, I figure this might be my last time anyway going to Jersey,” Pierce said before Friday night’s 84-79 loss to the Raptors. “This could be my last year playing.
I’ve thought about it. I don’t know. I’ve got to see how my summer goes with my kids.
Yet, while the second-leading scorer in Celtics history may have retirement somewhere in the back of his head, his play on the court shows that he’s not that serious about it.
Pierce’s .433 shooting percentage is his lowest since the 2003-04 season, but his overall game is still at a very high level.
Last season, Pierce had a PER (player efficiency rating) of 19.7, which was his highest PER since 2006-07. This season he’s putting up a PER of 18.84, which isn’t far off that pace.
In addition, Pierce is averaging a solid 19.1 PPG on a team struggling to score. During the month of March, Pierce showed he’s still among the NBA’s best scorers, averaging 22.3 PPG for the month.
Pierce is in his 14th season in the league and is 34 years of age, so if he called it a career it wouldn’t be a total shock, but he’s a guy that still has a lot to offer in terms of production. Some players don’t want to see their game slide and like to go out on top. If that’s the case, then Pierce considering retirement makes plenty of sense.
But he’s still playing well and has two years left on a contract that will pay him over $32 million. The direction that the Celtics take in the offseason could play in his decision, but given the level that Pierce is playing at, it would be tough to see him walk away from the game at the end of the season.
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