The Miami Heat wrapped up a 4-1 series win over the Brooklyn Nets in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs Wednesday night, leaving a veteran Nets squad to wonder if that was the team’s only shot.
After the game, Paul Pierce, 36, would not comment about exacting revenge on Miami next season. In fact, he would not even commit to playing with the Nets or in the NBA next year, making the impending free agent’s future a very bold question mark.
Paul Pierce noncommittal when asked if he wanted to come back and play for #Nets next season. Said he’d talk to his family, weigh options.
— Rod Boone (@rodboone) May 15, 2014
Pierce will be a free agent this offseason, but because the Nets have his Bird Rights, they can afford to pay him more than any other club. But while Pierce is a sure-fire Hall of Famer and a veteran leader in the locker room, at his age in this stage of his career, would the Nets be willing to break the bank to retain him?
Pierce believes he has one or two more years left of basketball in him. But will he push himself to the brink?
Along with longtime teammate Kevin Garnett, Pierce was a part of the Nets’ blockbuster trade with the Boston Celtics to add veteran superstars to a core that featured Deron Williams and Johnson, and immediately make the team Eastern Conference contenders. The trade pushed Brooklyn one round further in the postseason.
This season Pierce averaged 13.5 points per game, five points per game fewer than his final year in Boston. He also played 28 minutes per game, the lowest total of his game. He also played inconsistent defense, albeit against LeBron James. You have to wonder if he stays on that trajectory, what can he offer as a 37-year-old in 2014-15?