After arriving in L.A., Magic went to Jerry Buss to tell him he intends to join the Pistons as soon as his rookie contract is over. Kobe asked for a trade to Pistons or Celtics and, at one point, intended to sign with the Clippers. Hakeem wanted out of Houston in the early 90s. There are numerous examples of legends you can associate with only one team being close to playing for someone else. We now know Paul Pierce in on that list.
Pierce played in other places, but he will always be a Celtic. When you imagine Paul Pierce, it’s in a green jersey. Back in 2007, The Truth had other plans. After the Pitino fiasco, the Celtics made the playoffs in ’04/’05, and Pierce got optimistic. But, losing seasons ensued, and he had enough. Hitting his prime, he wanted to go to a winning team.
“People don’t know; I was almost out of Boston. I was having meetings with the ownership. This is the year before we got KG. This is the year Kevin Durant [was in the draft]. We lost 18 in a row. So I was like ‘We weak.’ I’m in my prime, we’re losing, we’re not getting to the playoffs. ‘You should trade me, draft Kevin Durant, tank the year.’”Paul Pierce, via All The Smoke
The way teams are making decisions now; Pierce would’ve made GM of the year. Trade a star player for maximum value, get a lot of assets, tank to increase your chances of getting Kevin Durant and build around him. They would probably name a panel and the MIT Sloan conference after you. The Celtics had other plans.
Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers believed that they already had a star on the team, and they can make it work. Pierce gave them a chance, and the next summer Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen were in a Celtics uniform. But, we know no star makes a trade suggestion without an idea of a destination. Were did Pierce want to play?
“I was really trying to get to Dallas, with Dirk. I would’ve been what they need to get over the top.”Paul Pierce, via All The Smoke
From 24 wins in ’06/’07 to 66 wins in ’07/’08 and winning the NBA title – the most dramatic turnaround in NBA history. Sometimes you need patience, but to have that, you need a coach and GM you can trust.