Heading into the offseason, Paul Pierce was one of the few Celtics under contract, with two years remaining on his four-year deal. Over the last month, GM Danny Ainge has worked to surround Pierce and Rajon Rondo with new and returning faces, retooling a roster that was one win away from reaching the Finals in 2011/12. Pierce sat down with Celtics.com for an exclusive interview to discuss the club's moves, and ESPNBoston.com's Chris Forsberg transcribed a number of the veteran's more notable quotes. Here are the highlights from the discussion:
On Ray Allen signing with the Heat:
"Ray made the best decision for him. 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."
On whether he's talked with Allen since his decision:
"A couple texts. I’m a little bitter that he went to Miami, but he’s still a brother of mine."
On Boston's free agent signings:
"I love what Danny’s been able to do. 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 [Garnett], 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.... 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.
On which new Celtic he's most excited to play with:
"I’ve always been a big fan of Jason Terry. 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."
On the health of his knee:
"The knee is a lot better. It’s not completely healed, but I figure I’m about 90% now. 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."