A 2013 trade that routed Paul Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets has allowed the Boston Celtics to reap immense rewards years later. But after a wayward four seasons elsewhere, Pierce reached an agreement to join his former team for a day.
The Celtics signed Pierce to a one-day contract so he could retire as a member of the team with which he’s most associated. Also as part of the Boston icon’s return to Celtics headquarters: No future Celtic will wear Pierce’s No. 34, per owner Wyc Grousbeck.
Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck confirms that they will retire Paul Pierce's #34. https://t.co/djjNvn4AyF
— Jared Weiss (@JaredWeissNBA) July 17, 2017
“We’re honored that Paul has chosen to retire as a Celtic. He is among the very best Celtics – a champion on and off the court,” Grousbeck said. “We congratulate Paul on a Hall of Fame career, and look forward to seeing his number raised to the rafters of TD Garden.”
Pierce played 15 of his 19 NBA seasons as a Celtic — a span that trails only John Havlicek’s 16-year run as a member of the Celts — arriving in Boston as a first-round pick in 1998. He led the team to two NBA Finals and took home Finals MVP honors in 2008, when the Celtics beat the Los Angeles Lakers in six games.
“It’s an honor to have this opportunity to once again call myself a Boston Celtic,” Pierce said. “The organization and city took me in and made me one of their own, and I couldn’t imagine ending my career any other way. I’m a Celtic for life.”
Pierce made 10 All-Star teams in an 11-season span from 2002-12. He’s the second-leading scorer in Celtics history, trailing only Havlicek, and made the most 3-pointers by a member of this storied franchise.
The 39-year-old wrapped up his career with the Clippers over the past two years after playing just one season as a Net and one as a Washington Wizard. The Celtics were able to draft Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum No. 3 overall thanks to the trade that sent Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Nets four years ago.