Celtics fans were disappointed to see Kevin Garnett and Doc Rivers go this offseason, but they were distraught to see Paul Pierce head out of Boston, too. After 15 years and 1,102 games played, all with the Celtics, a lot of people assumed — hoped, maybe — that Pierce would spend his entire NBA career in green.
Count Larry Bird among those who will be disappointed to see Pierce wearing the stark black and white of the Brooklyn Nets next season, even if Bird understands the nature of the business.
“I would have loved to see [Pierce play his entire career with one team],” Bird told Boston.com. “I got a lot of respect for Paul and what he has accomplished. But who says he’s not going to play another four years? It’s a tough situation.”
Bird, who recently returned to the Pacers as team president, is generally regarded as one of the greatest players in Celtics history. The only player who eclipses Bird in many people’s minds is 11-time NBA champion Bill Russell. Without getting into ranking anybody, Bird said Pierce belongs in the conversation of the franchise’s all-time greats.
“He’s one of the better ones to ever come through there,” Bird said. “He really is.”