Paul Pierce has had a storied career by all accounts.
The 38-year-old is a 10 time All-Star, one-time NBA champion and Finals MVP. Not many players leave the hardwood with that list of accomplishments, but The Truth is at the stage of his career where he has to consider his own basketball mortality.
On Wednesday night, the current L.A. Clippers forward and Boston Celtics legend told the Boston Globe that he’ll decide on his NBA future in the next few weeks, and that if he does come back, it will be for only one season:
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“Well, we always say it’s 51-49. I get 51 percent of the vote and the rest of [the family] gets 49,” he said. “[My wife’s] input carried a lot of weight. We’ll figure out some things. I know I don’t want to be sitting at home, whatever I do, regardless. If I come back, it will be one more [season] and that will be it. No doubt.”
“Really, it’s all about how I feel mentally, getting up and I’m thinking about the grind,” he said. “People don’t understand, I think a lot of guys retire because of what it takes to [get on the court] each season. You can take the grind once you are in it, but getting ready for the grind is the hard part.”
That's essentially what the vast majority of athletes feel about pre-season. There is a sense of dread as it approaches, but, ultimately, you know it is necessary.
Pierce has nothing left to accomplish if he was to walk away. After averaging 20 points a game through his career, he will go down as one of the best small forwards the game has seen.
He did sign a three-year deal when he landed with the Clippers in free agency last summer and one has to wonder if he would be ready to walk away from just over $3.5 million a year if he did call it a day early.
He has intimated that the 2016-17 campaign shall be his last, regardless, but Pierce will only commit himself to another season with the rigours of the NBA if his role is the right one.
“I thought I had one more good year [this past season], but obviously, I didn’t like how it all went with my role,” he said. “I’m still just trying to figure it out. A lot has got to do with my role I’m going to play. To come back and sit 82 games, I don’t know if I can do that.”
Pierce proved with the Washington Wizards before making his way to Los Angeles that he still has the tools to be effective. Will the Clippers take advantage of his talents next season?