Celtics

Celtics Question of the Day: Will this be Pierce's last season in Boston?

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Celtics Question of the Day: Will this be Pierce's last season in Boston?

Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics. Peanut Butter and Jelly. Pinky and the Brain.

It's hard to imagine one without the other.

But in the case of Pierce, there is the possibility however remote it may seem, that this could be his final season with the Celtics.

The C's hold an option on the final year of Pierce's contract that's worth 15.3 million. If Boston decides to pick that up this summer, the captain's back for the 2013-2014 season.

But as Pierce told the Boston Globe this summer, he still may test the free agent waters after his contract with the C's expire.

"I want to see what it feels like to be a free agent for once in my life," Pierce said. "I think I am going to play this one out. A lot can change in two years."

He's right. One thing that's unlikely to change is the uniform that Pierce has worn throughout his entire NBA career. But in case Pierce does in fact leave, the Celtics have already taken steps to buffer the blow with the signing of Jeff Green to a four-year, 36 million contract.

While Pierce's future will certainly be among the story lines to follow this season, it's hard to imagine him suiting up for any team other than the C's.

Then again, they said the same about NFL quarterback Peyton Manning in Indianapolis (now in Denver) and NBA Hall of Famer Karl Malone in Utah (finished his career with the Los Angeles Lakers).

But here's the difference.

Manning's departure was fueled by a neck injury and luck -- literally -- in which the Colts wound up with the No. 1 pick and drafted his replacement, Andrew Luck.

As for Malone, he wanted to finish off his career with that elusive NBA title. But just as he came up short with the Utah Jazz, his dream remained out of reach with the Lakers who were defeated by the Detroit Pistons in just five games during the 2004 NBA Finals.

But Pierce (knock on wood) hasn't had any major injuries in recent years, which has allowed him to play at a relatively high level. He already has an NBA title (2008) and was named Finals MVP that year.

And as he proved last season, he still has to be considered one of the game's top players.

He was named to the NBA's All-Star team last year at the age of 34, with Steve Nash (38 at the time) being the only player older than him selected to the team.

With the additions that Boston has made this summer, it will allow the C's to cut down on Pierce's minutes and that should in turn make him an even more efficient scorer and thus continue to be a major impact player.

But is that enough to make him worth more than 15 million moving forward? Tough call, indeed.

Brady enjoying "unique experience" of road trip

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Brady enjoying "unique experience" of road trip

While being away from home isn’t uncommon for the Patriots - just think about all those Super Bowl trips - Tom Brady believes each excursion takes on it’s own feel, it’s own flavor and - eventually - it’s own meaning.

Back in 2014, the Pats went from playing in Green Bay and losing to the Packers straight to San Diego for a week on the West Coast prior to a rousing victory over the Chargers. That week, many players said in the aftermath, helped propel the team to great heights,.  You’ll recall, that season ended in grand fashion, a triumph in Super Bowl 49 over Seattle, at the time - and maybe still - the greatest Super Bowl ever played.

“I think all these experiences are pretty unique,” Brady said Friday from Falcon Stadium at the Air Force Academy. “That was a very unique experience. This is different.”

Brady spoke about the number of stops the Pats have and will have to make on this trip - from Denver to Colorado Springs then on to Mexico City Saturday before a Sunday night return to Foxboro and their own beds for the first time in 10 nights.

“When you’re on the road like this, there’s less to do,” he said. “You know my family is not here, my kids aren’t here. There’s nobody telling me what I did wrong in the house. It’s just being at home and now it’s being here and trying to figure out a way to win a game.”

Brady quickly smoothed over any possible ill-will at home - why make Gisele mad? - smiling and saying “I didn’t mean that so I’ll take it back.”

Kidding aside, the 40-year old signal caller seemed pleased with the work the Patriots have put in during this long trip. A week of team-bonding can’t be a bad thing, especially for a group that seems to be hitting it’s stride both on and off the field. There’s the five wins in a row and also a locker room that has a better understanding of one another than it did during the first month of the season. But Brady is not ready to make any grand proclamations. That just wouldn’t be his style.

“I think it’s still work in progress,” he said of team chemistry. “You look at still adding a player like Marty (Bennett) last week. Things are always changing and evolving. We’re still trying to figure out what we’re doing well and after 8 or 9 weeks, you start to figure those things out. Now we have to work hard at those things, try to really own them, and use them going forward to try and win the most important games. We have a lot of important games coming up, starting with this one. Hopefully we can play our best football going forward.”

Brady said he’s been fired up for this game with the Raiders south of the border ever since the schedule was released all those months ago.

“I’ve never been to Mexico City,” he said. “It’s been a game you kind of look forward to. We’re playing against a really good football team in a pretty cool environment. It will be very memorable. I think everyone is excited.”