Paul Pierce said today that he’ll probably retire if the Clippers win the NBA championship this year, tweets Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times. The 37-year-old, who turns 38 next month, pondered retirement at the end of this past season before signing a fully guaranteed three-year contract worth nearly $10.584MM with the Clippers this summer. The deal contains a total of $8MM in guaranteed salary, with the non-guaranteed money bundled in the final season, which is partially guaranteed for $1MM.
Whether Pierce decides to give back a portion of that guaranteed money is ultimately up to him, though he would probably do so if he indeed retires. The team could press the issue and suspend him without pay for failing to honor his contract, but it’s doubtful the matter would come that. Instead, the team would likely see at least a portion of Pierce’s guaranteed salary of almost $3.528MM for 2016/17 come off the books. The Clippers have nearly $76.5MM committed for that season, when the salary cap is projected to rise to $89MM.
Clippers coach/executive Doc Rivers and Pierce have a longstanding relationship from their time with the Celtics, so surely Rivers would like to see Pierce stick around. However, he’d certainly take a championship, too. Pierce said he thought the Clips would win the title this past season, notes Dan Woike of the Orange County Register (Twitter link). Rivers isn’t sure just how he’ll deploy Pierce on the court, but the 17-year veteran said he knows his playing time will decline and that he’s nonetheless on board with whatever Rivers decides to do with him, according to Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter links). Pierce saw 26.2 minutes per game in the regular season and 29.8 MPG in the playoffs for the Wizards last season.
How much do you think Pierce has left? Leave a comment to weigh in.