Paul Pierce praises Celtics GM Danny Ainge for his off-season poise.
“I’m a little bitter that he went to Miami, but he’s still a brother of mine.”
This headline grabbing quote from the Boston Celtics All-Star forward Paul Pierce sums up his feelings on his former teammate Ray Allen using free agency to take his talents to South Beach.
Now, if you are one of those people that feels as if Allen’s defection to the Miami Heat from the Baltimore Celtics is really not that big of a deal, that statement just shot you down.
Pierce when speaking to the Celtics website was politely terse in his words as he had to be, but the truth is when these two clubs open the season on October 30th, it will be a war.
The amount of ill-will that exists between these two squads is near legendary and the Ray Allen saga is just one more log on the fire.
Pierce expanded on his feelings for Allen during the interview and his emotions were all over the place. Typical of any situation where people lean on each for success, upon one’s departure, there are feelings of resentment, acceptance and fond recollection.
“Ray made the best decision for him,” Pierce said. “That’s what it’s all about: You get in these situations, you become a free agent and you make a decision based on what’s best for you and your family. Ray will always be a brother for me. If it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t be wearing a championship ring. So the things he was able to do for this organization will never be forgotten.”
Pierce does feel that Celtics GM Danny Ainge did a great job of rolling with the punches and reloading the roster with top-shelf talent.
“I thought Danny did a good job of trying to replace Ray Allen. As you know Ray Allen went off to Miami, on his choice, but he was a great teammate, it was fun playing with him. But I think the guys coming in here… Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, trying to get a healthy Jeff Green, even some of our rookies… I think we’ve added a lot more depth, and it’s going to take a lot of pressure off me this upcoming season.”
“I love what Danny’s been able to do,” Pierce said. “It was a tough decision this summer. A lot was riding on what direction we were going to head in. It was just a domino effect, once we signed Kevin, we knew were going to try to make another run at it. That’s pretty much the way I looked at it. Once we signed him, a number of guys were able to jump on board.”
Pierce also provided a progress report on his MCL injury that impacted his playoff performance.
“The knee is a lot better. It’s not completely healed, but I figure I’m about 90 percent now,” Pierce said. “So I’ve been doing a lot to strengthen it, so I can come back a stronger player. It really hampered me, I thought, the last 10-15 games of the year. I couldn’t explode like I wanted to. But everybody was hurt at that point of the year. Everybody was dealing with nagging injuries. That’s why I didn’t really stress on it too much in the playoffs, because I know everyone is dealing with injuries and that’s just another excuse.”
Pierce had nothing but praise for one of his latest team mates, Jason Terry.
“I’ve always been a big fan of Jason Terry,” Pierce said. “Playing against him in college for a couple years, then watching his NBA career flourish over the years. From winning a championship to just bringing that element to our ball club now… he’s one of best sixth men all-time to play the game. That’s something we were lacking a year ago, and that was only due to injuries, so hopefully he can bring that consistency, that championship experience, so we can get back to where we were a few years ago.”
As the Boston Celtics roll through their changing of the guards, the old school would love to get one more season right on their way out the door within the next two-three seasons. It’s just too bad Ray Allen won’t be there to join them.