The biggest piece of news to emerge from Paul Pierce’s recent appearance on SiriusXM’s NBA Today was that No. 34 intended to retire as a member of the Celtics. That wasn’t the only takeaway, however, as the veteran small forward voiced his displeasure with Kevin Durant’s decision to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder and team with the star-studded Golden State Warriors this offseason.
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“I’m an old-school guy. I’m a competitor,” Pierce said Wednesday. “You want to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best. That’s always been something that’s driven me. Today’s day and age, a lot of these guys are friends. That’s like if Bird decided to go play with Magic or something. I think the competition makes the game what it is. Oklahoma I felt like was a contending team. They had Golden State on the ropes.
“I understand when you have great players who are on losing teams who are tired of losing, struggling in the playoffs every year. You’re the lone star. I’ve been in that position. I could have left Boston years ago but I stuck it out. I just feel like when you're that close as a competitor, you don't go join a team that just pushed you out. That's just me personally but we're living in a day and time where there's a new generation. Guys I don't think are as hungry or as competitive as my generation was, and that's why you'll probably see more of that."
Of course, with each word Pierce said, the elephant in the room grew larger and larger. After all, the 2007-08 Celtics are considered the first modern-era super-team, as the C’s added Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett to a group that already had Pierce and went on to win the NBA championship.
Asked about the difference between Pierce’s situation and that of the Miami Heat and Warriors in recent years, Pierce noted that unlike LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Durant, Allen and Garnett were acquired via trade, with the C’s giving up assets that included the fifth overall pick and Al Jefferson to form their Big Three.
“That’s how you build teams. Sometimes there’s luck involved. You get the right trades involved,” Pierce said. “It wasn’t like Ray and Kevin went to the offseason as free agents and they talked it out and I talked to them and they said we were just going to form together. It just kind of fell into place. I think if Ray Allen hadn’t have been traded to Boston, Kevin probably never would have considered coming to Boston. The trade was there, it was on the table. He needed a week to think about if he was going to go.
“Nowadays, as you saw with LeBron, he was a free agent. As you saw with Durant, they were free agents and they decided to join. Ours just kind of came together like the perfect storm and it happened that way. Then once people saw the blueprint of that, they were like, let’s try to make that happen and see if we can win a championship as you saw in Miami and as you’re seeing currently here in Golden State.”