Boston hasn’t seen the last of Paul Pierce, and it’s quite possible the Celtic organization hasn’t, either.
Fifteen years of learning how to drive on rotaries and strategically leave the “R” off the end of words will not be wasted. Though his new team, the Washington Wizards, has finished the season series with the C’s, the former captain will be back in Boston, at least for visits and probably for more than that.
“I’ll probably go up there this summer after the season and talk to Danny (Ainge, the C’s president of basketball operations), talk to Wyc (Grousbeck, a co-owner), you know, see what opportunities may open when I’m done,” Pierce told the Herald.
Even at age 37, he is far from done on the court, a fact supported by his 17 points in the Wizards’ easy win Saturday against the Celtics and the fact he is a key starter on a team with honest designs on the Eastern Conference title. Though he detoured to Brooklyn for a year with the Nets and now is in Washington after his long tenure with the Celts, Pierce never wavered from the notion that Boston will be a part of his future in at least some manner.
As of yet, he has not sought to more seriously investigate the possibilities, but that could be coming in the next several months.
“I haven’t had any talks with them about that,” Pierce said, “but, you know, I go up there every summer. I went up there last summer and went to the practice facility. Danny wasn’t there, but hopefully I’ll get to spend some time with him next summer. Who knows? I like to keep my relationships open, especially with the guys in Boston — Wyc, Danny. I may have some business opportunities up there this summer also.”
As to what Pierce might like to do in his next career, it was assumed through conversations with him over the years that he would be interested in an NBA front-office position, with an eye toward one day running the basketball operation. (For example, he might be a natural successor to Ainge after some grooming in the ways of internal operations.)
But after working with some of the younger Wizards on a regular basis, he is very much enjoying the process and results of teaching.
“I’m not sure, man. I like to keep my options open,” Pierce said. “Coaching could be in my future. I think I still have a lot left to give this game. I always find myself talking to the guys. When we’re going through scouting, I’m giving out pointers. A lot of the assistants say, ‘Man, you’ve got a lot to give this game after you’re done.’ So whether it’s coaching or being a general manager, it’s something I think about. I think it’s something that Kevin (Garnett, his former C’s and Nets teammate) has even thought about. Me and him talked about it. I think he would enjoy coaching. You know, Kevin likes to teach.”
Pierce laughed when doubt was expressed as to whether Garnett would take to the regular media requirements that come with being an NBA coach, meaning he might be better suited to assistant duties.
“But, you know, you’re getting older,” Pierce said. “Me and him had a chance to spend some time together on Christmas Eve. We had a good talk about that and a lot of things.”
In terms of his playing career, Pierce has been having regular conversations with himself. He has a player option for next season, but it’s quite possible he’ll opt out and sign a better deal to stay with the Wizards. But here, too, he’s keeping his options open.
“I’m just going to listen to my body,” Pierce said. “Some days are better than others, definitely. But it’s going to be a personal and family decision — even going into this summer.”
NOTES: The C’s have sent James Young to the Maine Red Claws of the D-League for work. The rookie was cleared to play two games ago after coming back from a dislocated right shoulder, but he did not make it onto the active roster for losses to Brooklyn and Washington.