The Globe reported a few comments from all time great Celtic, John "Hondo" Havlicek, who had some interesting things to say after the Hall of Fame ceremonies on Sunday. He gave his thoughts on Paul Pierce's departure from Boston and about free agency.
"Well I think he wanted to (stay) but circumstances changed and he was able to sort of give himself another shot (at a championship) so you can't blame him for that," the all-time great Celtic said after the Hall of Fame ceremonies Sunday. "It's like Bill Sharman years ago, left the Celtics and became a Laker of all things. So I wish (Pierce) will and hopes that he gets that ring."
From all I've read and heard, I think Pierce was conflicted. I believe that staying in Boston his entire career and retiring a Celtic were very enticing and I think one part of him really wanted to do so. But the other part of him didn't want to go through a rebuild. He wanted a chance at another ring more than he wanted that distinction of staying with the same team.
"That's what free agency does, it doesn't allow you to have that continuity," Havlicek said about Pierce's departure. "We never made a trade in 10 years (with the Celtics) and all the people remained the same. It's a lot different today but I wish him well. He's one of the best all-around players and the thing I marveled at was his one-on-one ability. I think he's the best one-on-one player of all Celtics."
I love the history of the NBA and of the Celtics and read a lot about both. The NBA has changed so much since the early days and some of the change is good but some is not so good. The sky high salaries and the way there is a media circus around free agency decisions really have made the game worse. I love that Havlicek mentions the fact that Red didn't make a trade in 10 years. He kept the same players and those players had pride in being Celtics. I may be old fashioned, but I liked those days much better. No overpaid prima donna stars - just team players who grew together.
That being said, Havlicek's last sentence is the one drawing the most attention. There are a lot of players who have been Celtics and many of them are now Hall of Famers. For Havlicek to say that Pierce is the best one on one player of all those Celtics is saying something. At one time in his career, a Pierce ISO at the end of the game was money in the bank. But, I think Doc overused those ISO's at the end of games last season. A Pierce ISO at the end of the game isn't quite what it used to be and quite often, they ended in a clanked shot or a turnover as he drove into 3 defenders. But still, Pierce's career speaks for itself. He's still a very wily veteran who can get the job done in different ways. Only this season, it will be for the Nets. I'm pretty sure, though, that when the game is on the line, Jason Kidd's number one weapon won't be a Pierce ISO.
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