The NBA has a lot of what-if stories. While we’ve been blessed with superstar duos, big threes, or powerhouse teams, there are team-ups that were supposed to happen but didn’t due to various circumstances. Paul Pierce unveils that he was close to leaving the Boston Celtics to take his talents to the West with his ideal teammate.
Before Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen flocked to Boston, Pierce actually thought of taking his talents elsewhere. The Celtics suddenly wanted to rebuild, and Pierce wasn’t really keen on becoming a part of it at that point in his career. He wanted to win a title and saw an opportunity in Dallas.
"At the time, the Mavs was pushing the button. They was winning 50 games every year, it was that team that was, like, they needed one more player I felt like getting them over the top cause Dirk was Dirk and I was like, sh*t, they gonna be there, they get that one dude and I was like, I think I could be that dude. So, I wanted to meet up with Mark Cuban, it never happened, you know, I was pushing the front office, like, my agent, like, if I go anywhere, give me the Dallas,” Pierce said, per Fubo Sports.
Pierce went on to fantasize what a Mavs team with him and Dirk Nowitzki at the core would look like. The two are easily one of the best offensive gunners in history. They’re also not one of the quickest.
"That would have been nasty, oh man, you would have two of the slowest players at their position getting buckets,” Pierce added.
Different era, different ego
Pierce noted that his quest to go do Dallas went under the radar because during those days, it wasn’t exactly fashionable to request for a trade publicly. Players would get lambasted for wanting out. Perhaps Pierce felt he owed a lot to the Celtics, as the team picked him in the draft. And so though he wanted to go elsewhere, he didn’t want to make a big fuzz out of it.
It’s an interesting detail especially given the circumstances today. We see star players requesting to be traded left and right. If they don’t get their wish, then they would refuse to suit up and show up for practice. The league and players' behavior have definitely evolved, for better or worse.