Paul Pierce, after giving away awards and working with kids at his annual basketball camp at Basketball City near TD Garden, continued to discuss the Celtics and his personal future:
About how the '12 team fared despite injuries: "Definitely you think that (we were one of the best teams in the NBA). I mean that's all part of the optimists thinking when you moving forward. I think that was the reasoning for re-signing KG (Kevin Garnett) because I don't think you realize what you had until you get to the playoffs. We were a lot closer than we really thought we were. I think a lot of things didn't go our way, the lockout, no training camp, I'm hurt. First half of the season, we didn't look like a team that could probably win it based on our play. Now, we're confident that we can play with anybody in the NBA. Miami is the champs. We pushed them harder than anybody has never pushed them. But we got to expect them to be better next year, that's why why we have to be better. We feel like we're right there with them. We know them. We know their tendencies. Even the last two years we lost to them in the playoffs, we beat them six out of eight times (in the regular season). So we feel like we're an elite team still."
On the offseason moves: It's great for us because I don't have to carry such a load as I get older. That's good for KG as he gets older. Of course we're like 'wow' because I really did look this as our last run. I did. I really thought this was it. I thought we were going to not going to sign KG, maybe trade me. If not trade me, maybe (approach) mediocrity if I was going to stay here. I didn't think we would be right where we're at talking today about the opportunity to be a contender next year."
About his contract, which has a team option for 2013-14: "I think I am going to play this one out. I want to see what it feels like to be a free agent for once in my life. I think I am going to play this one out. A lot can change in two years. My body (may not) be where I want it to be, I could retire, a lot of things could happen. It's not about the money at this point. I love the game. I made as much money as I possibly can. It's about winning a championship and if I feel like it's the right thing to do, maybe so (come back) but I really don't know the specifics on the KG deal or Jason Terry's deal. If i solidify my third year, maybe they opt out, so it's about keeping your options open."
If he uncomfortable with the team option?: "Not at all. I mean if they don't want me back, I feel like I'm good enough and I'll be wanted by a lot of teams. I'm coming into this year and I just made another all-star team at 34. So I'm still feel like I'm playing at a great level."
Whether Ray Allen will get booed on his return to TD Garden: "If the crowd boos Ray then the (rivalry with the Heat) will be crazy. It's going to be crazier than it really it already. But I don't expect them to boo Ray for the time that he put in here, what he's accomplished, he'll get cheered. Maybe the first time (he comes to Boston)."