Of course it's tough to take anything said after a season-ending loss, especially like the one the Nets suffered in Game 5 against the Heat, as gospel, but with free agency looming and now 16 seasons in the books for Paul Pierce, there's no certainly that he will return to the Brooklyn Nets after this summer.
How do we know? Well, he was less than committal in his post-game comments on Wednesday night.
Paul Pierce wouldn't say if he'd come back to Brooklyn, but clearly wants to continue playing. Said "1 or 2" more years.— Andy Vasquez (@andy_vasquez) May 15, 2014
Paul Pierce won't commit to wanting to re-sign with Nets, but says he has "one or two years" left in him— Stefan Bondy (@NYDNInterNets) May 15, 2014
Paul Pierce: "I still think I have something to give a team." Says he has one or two more years "at most."— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) May 15, 2014
More Paul Pierce on his future: "When I get a chance to sit back and really put my thinking hat on I’ll figure out what’s next.’’ #Nets— Rod Boone (@rodboone) May 15, 2014
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
The Brooklyn Nets do own Pierce's "Bird Rights," so they can sign him up to the maximum amount allowed by the league per the current CBA. Of course, they're not expected to offer him a max contract, but that only means they have more wiggle room than most teams.
Obviously, Pierce wants to play to compete for a championship, which likely means more than the money at this point in his career. But, that's not to say Pierce is expected to chase a ring and sign for anything less than he feels he's worth.
Purely speculation at this point, of course. But, expect the Nets to sit down and put an offer together for Pierce. Whether or not he accepts it, well, that's something we'll have to wait and see how it plays out.
As for Kevin Garnett, he left the locker room without speaking to reporters.
- After elimination, Pierce, Garnett ponder futures - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- 2014 NBA playoffs -- Paul Pierce on future -- 'Still something left in tank' - Ohm Youngmisuk - ESPN New York
- Summer Scoop: Big questions for Nets - Marc Stein - ESPN
- What does future hold for Nets' Pierce and Garnett? - Andy Vasquez - The Record
- Five questions facing the Nets this offseason - Rod Boone - Newsday
- Uncertain futures with Nets for Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett - Rod Boone - Newsday
Keep ‘em or Dump ‘em - 2014 - New York Daily News