That list included Paul Pierce, who was reportedly mentioned in a deal that would send Pierce to Brooklyn in exchange for Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and a first-round pick.
Pierce, now 35 years old, has spent his entire 14-year NBA career in Boston. He’s the longest-tenured Celtic on the roster by far — Rajon Rondo, now in his seventh season in green, ranks second — and is a lock to have his No. 34 hanging in the rafters of TD Garden someday.
But what if Pierce is moved at the deadline? Many Celtics fans don’t even remember the last time the team hit the floor without him, and The Truth has provided some of the most iconic performances of post-Larry Bird era.
Strangely enough, one of those performances came against the very team that’s reportedly pursuing him. In 2002, Pierce, then teamed with Antoine Walker, led the Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they faced the New Jersey Nets. The Nets won the series in six games, but Pierce left his mark in Game 3, scoring 19 points in the fourth quarter to bring Boston back from a 21-point deficit in one of the largest comebacks in NBA playoff history.
Pierce finally broke through in his next Conference Finals appearance six years later, where he scored 41 points in Game 7 to beat LeBron James‘ Cleveland Cavaliers. It was the first of several battles between Pierce and LeBron, who met again in the 2010, 2011 and 2012 playoffs, with each winning a pair of series.
The captain was perhaps never finer than during his one successful championship run, when the Celtics topped the Lakers in six games in the 2008 NBA Finals to win their first title since 1986. Pierce needed to be carted off the court in a wheelchair in Game 1, but returned to score 24 points in a Boston win and was eventually named the series’ Most Valuable Player.
Now, Danny Ainge says the Celtics are “unlikely” to make any sort of franchise-shaking deal before Thursday’s deadline. But if they do decide to, and Wednesday night’s game against the Lakers is Pierce’s last in a Boston uniform, what moment will you remember most about his career? Voice your opinion in the poll below.