Paul Pierce is not pulling a Kobe Bryant and announcing his retirement.
Not yet, anyway.
Chris Mannix provided the following tidbit for The Vertical:
One more run for Paul Pierce, and maybe that will be the end of it. Pierce won’t reveal much about his future – “The last few years it has been an end-of-the-season decision,” Pierce told The Vertical. “I’ll make that decision after this season, too” – but few in the organization would be surprised if this was it. From afar, Pierce watched Kobe Bryant say goodbye with a smile. “That was awesome,” Pierce said. He won’t get that goodbye, not in L.A., but when his playing days are over, when he returns to Boston, he will. He will be feted by a town that adores him and take his place among names like Russell, Heinsohn and Bird in Celtics lore.
That day is coming. One legend walked away last week, and another could be behind him. Kobe Bryant had his moment at Staples Center last week. Pierce hopes he can have a few more of his.
Pierce, 38, is wrapping up his 18th NBA season. And if he wants even a slight taste of the Kobe treatment before he walks away, there will be a 19th.
That could change if the Los Angeles Clippers snag a ring this year, but that’s beyond unlikely. They would be considered a title favorite most years, just not this one. The Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs are going strong, and then it’s the Oklahoma City Thunder after them.
Pierce will probably also want to go out on a high personal note, ring be damned. He has fallen out of the Clippers’ rotation since the return of Blake Griffin. There isn’t room to play him now, in the postseason, amid a shortened rotation, with both Jeff Green and Griffin in the fold.
Beyond that, Pierce has one more guaranteed year worth around $3.5 million left on his deal with the Clippers. That isn’t much to a guy who has made more than $190 million from his NBA contracts alone, but it’s something. Plus, Pierce doesn’t seem like the next Ray Allen; when he leaves, we’ll know he’s leaving. It won’t be a surprise.
The real surprise would be not seeing him in the NBA next season.