Pierce: 'I want to retire with KG'


Pierce: 'I want to retire with KG'

WALTHAM -- As Kevin Garnett goes, so does Paul Pierce. At least Pierce sees it that way when it comes to the longevity of their careers.

Pierce is entering his 15th season with the Boston Celtics. The team captain plans to continue playing as long as his body will let him compete at a high level. He doesn't want to do that without Garnett alongside him.

"The goal is to retire with Kevin," Pierce said at Celtics Media Day on Friday. "He recently signed a three-year deal. I see my career kind of ending along the path of his."

This summer 34-year-old Pierce contemplated his own future in the league as Garnett, an unrestricted free agent, decided whether or not to return for his 18th season.

"I really wasn't confident he was coming back," Pierce said. "Kevin, he said this is it for him. People didn't know this, but there are times we'd be in the locker room and be like, 'Kevin, is this your last year?' He was like, 'Yeah, this is it.' I would say, 'If you retire, I'm going to retire.'"

The more Pierce thought about his teammate's future, he realized it would be difficult for Garnett to retire from the league he had been part of since he was a teenager, especially while still playing at a high level. Looking back, though, he is not certain what his future would have held if Garnett had opted to walk away. Pierce had been through a rebuilding stage earlier in his career and didn't want to go through the process again, not at 34 years old.

"I really don't know what that answer would have been," said Pierce. "I know one thing -- I know I didn't want to go through a rebuilding phase. That would have been difficult for me mentally and being motivated, especially at this point in my career. It would have been something I would've had to think hard and long about. And if there was another team out there, I don't know. But it's something I really put consideration into if Kevin had retired."

Both are back and now Pierce is looking forward to another title run. His knee feels "one hundred percent" and he does not have a limit on minutes this season.

Said Pierce, "I'm very excited, especially in this stage in my career, that we're continuing to try to get that elusive trophy that we haven't got in a few years."

Celtics to begin season with Marcus Smart on the shelf

Celtics to begin season with Marcus Smart on the shelf

WALTHAM, Mass. -- The Boston Celtics will be a bit shorthanded for the first few games of the season with Marcus Smart being out with a left ankle sprain injury.
The Celtics were holding out slim hope that it would heal in time for tomorrow’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.
Smart confirmed a CSNNE.com report shortly after the injury on October 19 that it would likely be at least a couple weeks before he returned to action.
Following Tuesday’s practice, one in which Smart watched from the sidelines, he gave an update on his ankle injury which occurred in the Celtics’ last preseason game, a 121-96 loss to the New York Knicks.
“A couple weeks, that’s the projection (of a return) they gave me,” Smart said. “They want to make sure we can limit this from happening again.”
Smart said the two-week timetable began from the time of his injury, which means it’s likely that he will miss the Celtics’ first four games of the season.
That’s a much rosier timetable than the left ankle sprain injury Smart suffered as a rookie which kept him sidelined for several weeks afterwards.
“It shouldn’t be too long,” Smart said. “Better safe than sorry.”
His absence will certainly have an impact on a Celtics defense that ranked among the NBA’s best a year ago, and has only gotten stronger with the addition of Al Horford.
But the Celtics have been a "next man up" team for since Stevens has been the head coach. With Smart out, that’s not going to change.
“That’ll be a great opportunity for someone else to step up in his place,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.
Boston guard Isaiah Thomas echoed similar thoughts.
“When somebody’s hurt, the next man has to step up,” Thomas said. “Guys have to take advantage of these opportunities.”
And for Smart, it’ll mean displaying his leadership skills from the sideline.
He’s totally comfortable taking on that role right now.
For his teammates, it might take a little bit of getting used to. Smart has been very loquacious on the Celtics sideline since suffering the injury.
“These last four days, he has been yelling … I told him to shut up a few times,” quipped Isaiah Thomas. “That’s just him, especially when he’s not playing. He’s very vocal.”
Terry Rozier, the likely benefactor in terms of minutes played due to Smart’s injury, agreed.
“He’s been sitting right there in that seat,” said Rozier, adding, “and he hasn’t shut up yet. It’s good; you’re going to need a guy like that who is going to talk to you. It’s like a guy, he says things … it’s like he’s been in the league 10 years. He knows his stuff.”
Smart’s knowledge bank includes understanding that his current injury will probably happen again at some point. The key isn’t dealing with the injury, but how you move forward from it.
“This isn’t my first ankle sprain and I know it won’t be my last,” Smart said. “I just have to let it heal on its own and let your body do what it does.”