The Clippers signed Paul Pierce to a three-year deal in the offseason, but the 38-year-old has shown the ravages of age this season, and coach/executive Doc Rivers admits the team’s maintenance plan for him isn’t foolproof, as Dan Woike of the Orange County Register examines. Pierce hasn’t ruled out retirement after the season.
“It has to be [hard for him],” Rivers said. “You could see he didn’t have great rhythm tonight and he didn’t practice and he takes the days off. Again, it’s an imperfect science. I think at the end of the year it will be great for him because now the rhythm will start and he’ll start playing, but I really don’t know. I’m just trying to do the best with him so we can preserve him.”
Here’s more from the Western Conference:
- Some teams with interest in trading with the Timberwolves for Kevin Martin would prefer that he picks up his player option worth nearly $7.378MM for next season, but a larger and more seriously intrigued bunch of teams wants him to turn down the option, as Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders hears. The same is true among suitors for Lakers power forward Brandon Bass, who has a $3.135MM player option, Kyler adds.
- Soon-to-be free agent Nicolas Batum said after Friday’s game that he “loved” playing for the Trail Blazers, but Portland’s victory over the Hornets, in which Batum struggled, was in large measure about the Blazers moving past Batum and the other players the team didn’t bring back from last season, as The Oregonian’s Joe Freeman details. The Charlotte swingman was the last of the four former Blazers starters to play a game with his new team in Portland.
- The Rockets have recalled Donatas Motiejunas and K.J. McDaniels from the D-League, the team announced (Twitter link). Motiejunas, set for restricted free agency at season’s end, gave his consent to the D-League trip as a rehab assignment, and he said he’ll again join Houston’s affiliate later in the week, notes Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston (on Twitter). Motiejunas has three previous years of experience, so the Rockets need his permission as well as the union’s to send him to the D-League.