Paul Pierce might be going going, back back, to Cali Cali
Paul Pierce is, whether you like it or not, the truth. The Hall of Fame forward has spent his entire career being the good guy for the Celtics, Nets and Wizards, but the bad guy to everyone else. The one guy you don’t want holding the ball in the final seconds of a tied game unless you’re his teammate or coach. Paul Pierce is why LeBron James left Cleveland for Miami. The Toronto Raptors were sent home in the first round of the playoffs in consecutive years by the Nets and the Wizards. What did both of those teams have in common? Paul Pierce.
Even at the age of 37, Pierce is still a dangerous offensive weapon, so it’s understandable why everyone’s eyebrows are raised at a David Aldridge report on NBA.com, which indicates that Pierce could leave Washington after a successful season to reunite with Doc Rivers–with whom Pierce won his only NBA Championship in 2008–on the Los Angeles Clippers. According to Aldridge:
Washington’s main issue is complacency. The Wizards could stand pat if Pierce decides to return to D.C. next season rather than opt out of his deal, but many around the league believe Pierce will do just that and finish his career back home in Los Angeles with the Clippers.
Interesting. The idea could make sense for both teams. The Clippers ranked 23rd this season in bench scoring, which is a testament to how well their starters ran their offense, considering the Clippers ranked second in points per game. Pierce coming off the bench with Austin Rivers–who seemed to finally find his stride in the Western Conference Semis–and Jamaal Crawford (given Crawford resigns with L.A.) could provide Doc with the depth and veteran leadership he’ll need to get over the hump next season.
As far as Washington goes, they wouldn’t have made it this far without Pierce, but their outlook is certainly positive. Georgetown alum Otto Porter looks like he’s finally evolving into the starting 2-way forward Washington thought they were getting when they drafted him in 2013, and John Wall and Bradley Beal played the best basketball they’ve ever played together in these playoffs. Yes, they were eliminated in 6 games, but they lost to the conference’s #1 team, and they were without John Wall, the Eastern Conference’s best point guard, for half the series.
Only Pierce knows what his next move is, but going back to his home state of California to play for his longtime coach and mentor is hardly an unfeasible idea.