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Paul Pierce signs contract allowing him to retire as a Celtic

Scott McLaughlin
July 17, 2017 - 5:18 pm

Paul Pierce will retire as a Celtic. The team announced Monday that it has signed the 19-year veteran to a contract that allows him to retire as a member of the organization with which he spent his first 15 NBA seasons.

Pierce is the Celtics' second all-time leading scorer with 24,021 points, and he averaged more than 20 points per game eight times in Boston. After the C's drafted him 10th overall in 1998, Pierce endured a few tough seasons before leading the team to an Eastern Conference finals run in 2002. After a few more playoff appearances, he remained a bright spot as the team went through a rebuild in the mid-2000s.

That ended when the Celtics traded for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, who combined with Pierce to form a new "Big Three" that lifted the Celtics to their 17th championship in 2008 -- the franchise's first since 1986. Boston returned to the NBA finals two years later, but lost to the Lakers in a rematch of the 2008 finals.

"It's an honor to have this opportunity to once again call myself a Boston Celtic," Pierce said. "The organization and city took me in and made me one of their own, and I couldn’t imagine ending my career any other way. I’m a Celtic for life."

Pierce's terrific Boston career came to an end in June 2013 when the Celtics traded him and Kevin Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets for three first-round picks, plus the right to swap another first-round pick. That deal has already landed the Celtics Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum (and James Young), and Boston still has Brooklyn's 2018 pick as well.

After leaving Boston, Pierce played one season with the Nets, one with the Wizards and the last two with the Clippers.

"We’re honored that Paul has chosen to retire as a Celtic. He is among the very best Celtics – a champion on and off the court," said Celtics governor and managing partner Wyc Grousbeck. "We congratulate Paul on a Hall of Fame career, and look forward to seeing his number raised to the rafters of TD Garden."

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