Celtics Question of the Day: Will this be Pierce's last season in Boston?

Celtics Question of the Day: Will this be Pierce's last season in Boston?
September 19, 2012, 1:39 pm
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Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics. Peanut Butter and Jelly. Pinky and the Brain.

It's hard to imagine one without the other.

But in the case of Pierce, there is the possibility however remote it may seem, that this could be his final season with the Celtics.

The C's hold an option on the final year of Pierce's contract that's worth 15.3 million. If Boston decides to pick that up this summer, the captain's back for the 2013-2014 season.

But as Pierce told the Boston Globe this summer, he still may test the free agent waters after his contract with the C's expire.

"I want to see what it feels like to be a free agent for once in my life," Pierce said. "I think I am going to play this one out. A lot can change in two years."

He's right. One thing that's unlikely to change is the uniform that Pierce has worn throughout his entire NBA career. But in case Pierce does in fact leave, the Celtics have already taken steps to buffer the blow with the signing of Jeff Green to a four-year, 36 million contract.

While Pierce's future will certainly be among the story lines to follow this season, it's hard to imagine him suiting up for any team other than the C's.

Then again, they said the same about NFL quarterback Peyton Manning in Indianapolis (now in Denver) and NBA Hall of Famer Karl Malone in Utah (finished his career with the Los Angeles Lakers).

But here's the difference.

Manning's departure was fueled by a neck injury and luck -- literally -- in which the Colts wound up with the No. 1 pick and drafted his replacement, Andrew Luck.

As for Malone, he wanted to finish off his career with that elusive NBA title. But just as he came up short with the Utah Jazz, his dream remained out of reach with the Lakers who were defeated by the Detroit Pistons in just five games during the 2004 NBA Finals.

But Pierce (knock on wood) hasn't had any major injuries in recent years, which has allowed him to play at a relatively high level. He already has an NBA title (2008) and was named Finals MVP that year.

And as he proved last season, he still has to be considered one of the game's top players.

He was named to the NBA's All-Star team last year at the age of 34, with Steve Nash (38 at the time) being the only player older than him selected to the team.

With the additions that Boston has made this summer, it will allow the C's to cut down on Pierce's minutes and that should in turn make him an even more efficient scorer and thus continue to be a major impact player.

But is that enough to make him worth more than 15 million moving forward? Tough call, indeed.