BOSTON -- It has been said for years that the Celtics window of opportunity is closing. Doc Rivers mentioned it on Tuesday. Kevin Garnett recently said, given the uncertainty of the future, he is focused solely on this season.
Paul Pierce, though, has a different outlook.
Pierce, 34, is looking at the road ahead for himself and his teammates. And he thinks it will be a long one. Even though Allen and Garnett are in their mid 30s (36 and 35, respectively) and in the final years of their contracts, Pierce believes there is still much more basketball to be played.
I really didnt even put any thought into it because I really see Kevin and Ray (Allen) really playing past this year, hopefully with the Boston Celtics even though their contracts are up, Pierce said at Celtics Media Day. But if Doc wants to use that as motivation, then I will.
At this point in his career, Pierce is no longer focused on individual achievements. He wants to help the Celtics win another championship, and he personally wants to stay in the league as long as possible.
Watching his teammates over the years has sparked new habits in Pierce to extend his time in the game.
Ive taken a lot of things from a lot of the guys Ive been around, he said. Ray is one, Kevin, just the way they do things, the preparation, even to the ways they eat Ive changed a lot. Hopefully it will help me with the longevity of playing a few more years and also playing at a high level.
He uses one teammate in particular as a measuring stick.
Right now, my motivation is to play longer than Ray, Pierce said. I think hes going to play another five years. I dont know if Ill make it, but hes definitely been my inspiration, just the way hes been consistently great even at his age of his 42 sarcasm. Its just amazing. Hes just a genetic wonder.