Boston's CLNS Radio hosts Larry H. Russell and Dr. Andre Snellings spoke this weekend with Ian Eagle about the NCAA's and other things, but also spoke with him about the future of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
Eagle, who's as much a reporter as an announcer, said he can see two different fates for the Hall of Famers. He thinks Pierce will sign a two-year deal with the Nets in the off-season, but suggests Garnett could mull retirement at season's end.
Asked by a Boston fan, did he think Pierce and Garnett would be Nets next season, Eagle replied...
If you asked me that question six weeks ago, eight weeks ago, I might have waffled on it because Pierce at that point was just starting to warm up to the idea of putting on that Nets uniform on a nightly basis. I think he was still having a rough time leaving Boston. The emotional return to TD Garden did a lot for Paul to create some closure.
I really believe that and they did just an incredible job on honoring him, on honoring Kevin Garnett. There was a lot of anticipation, we know, for that late January meeting and it lived up to it, lived up to hype, but I think it also allowed Pierce, in particular, to move on. And since, he has embraced the idea of being part of this Brooklyn Nets franchise, he's engaged with the crowd, he's more at ease. I think he's become himself again. Just being around him and watch him interact with his teammates and the coaches he's back to being the guy Celtics fans fell in love with so many years as a member of that team.
So to answer your question on the Pierce end, I think he's going to be back. I think he's going to end up signing a two year deal and they'll pay him. He'll get his money with the Nets. They understand his role on this team and that there is a leadership and an edge that he brings to this franchise.
The Garnett story line is yet to be written. Physically, this season has been taxing on him and he's such a proud guy I dont think he would ever, ever admit to it publicly because it's just not in his DNA but it's been challenging for him, not having his body respond the way it has in previous years as a member of the Celtics and Timberwolves. So whenever this run is over, whatever happens in the post-season, Garnett could play a really big role in the Nets success --or their shortcomings-- in the playoffs, I don't know if he's made his mind up yet. I think there's going to be a lot of soul-searching on his part. He's not the kind of guy who strikes me as who's going to just hold on, just to get the paycheck. If he can't bring it the way he's been accustomed to ... and he doesn't believe he can play at the level that's expected out of himself, I could see KG retiring.
Pierce will be a free agent in July but the Nets have his Bird Rights meaning they can sign him to whatever contract they want ... and a two-year deal has been suggested by others. Garnett is owed $12 million next season. Under terms of his Boston contract, the Celtics could have waived him this summer and given him a buyout payment of $6 million, but the Nets agreed to guarantee the full contract as part of the Draft Day trade last June.
- Celtic Beat Interview with Ian Eagle (Audio @35:10) - Larry H. Russell and Dr. Andre Snellings - CLNS Radio