Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ask ESPN: Where is Paul Going?

This article was originally published for CelticsLife.com


Today, ESPN.com compiled predictions of their NBA experts on where the top free-agents would land. Here's what they had to say about Boston's Paul Pierce:

Where will Paul Pierce sign?

Abbott: Boston Celtics. It's hard to leave a team that has just had three years of very deep playoff runs. More likely than 50-50? Yes.
Adande: Boston Celtics. He finishes as a Celtic, even though the thought of his heading home to Los Angeles as a Clipper is intriguing. More likely than 50-50? Yes.
Arnovitz: Boston Celtics. Although Pierce's decision to opt out of the final year of his contract presents the Celtics with a chance to get younger, the Celtics will find a way to keep Pierce in green for a few more years. More likely than 50-50? Yes.
Coon: Boston Celtics. Pierce will check out the free-agent market but will return for another run with KG, Rondo and (he hopes) Ray. More likely than 50-50? Yes.
Ford: New Jersey Nets. If the Nets strike out with LeBron, Wade and Bosh, they're going to throw a lot of money Pierce's way, and I don't think Boston can or wants to match. More likely than 50-50? No.
Hollinger: Boston Celtics. Can't see him leaving and can't see the C's letting him walk. More likely than 50-50? Yes.
Sheridan: Los Angeles Clippers. It'll come down to money here, and Donald Sterling will be willing to open his wallet wider than Wyc Grousbeck will. More likely than 50-50? No.
Stein: Boston Celtics. The big difference between Pierce and Nowitzki is that Pierce is wide open to fielding offers from other teams. But Doc Rivers' return is a strong signal that the Celts will find a way to re-sign him to a deal both sides can stomach. I like the way Chris Broussard has been saying it on TV: Pierce is the modern-day Mr. Celtic. He really doesn't want to leave and they certainly don't want to lose him. More likely than 50-50? Yes.
Something interesting to take from the piece is that the experts unanimously picked Dirk Nowitzki - who's in nearly the same situation as Pierce - to return to Dallas. "The Truth" however has got some experts picking him to wear a different uniform for the first time in 12 years. There is a tad bit of uncertainty surrounding Pierce's future.

The non-Boston picks do seem a little far fetched, however. After the way Pierce has talked about losing Game 7 and the "bad taste" left in his mouth, he seems more determined than ever to make another run for a championship. The Clippers or Nets would not be teams to do that with.

Earlier today, it was reported that the Celtics expect to be able to re-sign Pierce.

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