Report: Pierce not interested in signing extension

The Sports Xchange
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--F Paul Pierce has played all 14 of his NBA seasons with the Boston Celtics, but he is not seeking an extension on his current contract, preferring to become a free agent when it expires, according to the Boston Globe.

Pierce, 34, is under contract through 2013-2014, but it's not guaranteed as a team option.

"I think I am going to play this one out," he told the Globe. "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. 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). If I solidify my third year, maybe they opt out, so it's about keeping your options open."

His decision about whether to stay with the Celtics may depend on what other pieces the Celtics have then.

Ray Allen left to join the Miami Heat, and coach Doc Rivers might be ready to walk away from the NBA sometime soon. Kevin Garnett signed a three-year extension this summer, but he is 36 years old.

Pierce was put on the trading block last season before general manager Danny Ainge decided to keep the team together for another run.

--After missing out on Ray Allen, the Celtics believe they did the best they could by trading for 6-foot-5 guard Courtney Lee in a three-team deal.

The Celts had hoped to get Lee as a free agent, but when they had to use their $5 million mid-level exception on Jason Terry, they had to get creative. The most they had left at that point was the $1.975 million bi-annual exception, which was not enough to match what Lee could get in the open market after being freed by Houston.

The C's had to get a third team involved to create a slot of around $5 million to begin a three-year contract, and after a couple of misfires, they got it done.

JaJuan Johnson, E'Twaun Moore, Sean Williams and a 2013 second-round draft pick (Charlotte's through Oklahoma City in the recent Jeff Green ruling) went to Houston. Sasha Pavlovic and the cash to pay him went to Portland with two more 2013 second-rounders (Boston's own and one from Minnesota). Portland then sent Houston the draft rights to guard Jon Diebler.

Lee will most likely start at 2-guard, at least until Avery Bradley is ready to return from shoulder surgery.

"Well, I'm grateful for JaJuan and E'Twaun," said president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. "We put a lot of time into them, and I think they're going to be good players. And Sean was with us for a short time and worked hard.

"But I think that we're just excited to have Courtney. He's a starting 2-guard in this league. He's in the prime time of his career. His age (27 in October) sort of coincides with Brandon, Jeff and Rondo. They're stepping into their prime.

"Courtney's a both-ends-of-the-court player. He's a 3-point shooter and a defender. I think he'll be a good addition to us."

The Celts had originally involved New Orleans and Phoenix in the transaction, but that arrangement fell apart. Later that night, they got Portland to step in.

"There's a lot of craziness that goes on," said Ainge. "One minute you have a deal, and the next minute the deal's off. That happened throughout this process with Courtney.

"To find other teams to help as a trade partner to make these things happen is challenging when you don't have cap space. But it's part of the process. My staff -- Mike Zarren and Austin (Ainge) and Ryan (McDonough) -- put in a lot of work to make this deal happen.

"It was on and off and on and off," Ainge said. "But Courtney was patient to give us time, and Houston was patient to let us work out a deal to help Courtney get what he wanted.

"We needed a third team because we didn't have any space. We had to get the number up in order to get Courtney."

Teams over the salary cap can only take back roughly what they trade away in salary.

--The Celtics announced the signing of four players on July 31: C Jason Collins, G Keyon Dooling, G Dionte Christmas and G Jamar Smith.

The details of the contracts were not released, but both Collins and Dooling reportedly had agreed to one-year deals for the veteran minimum of $1.35 million.

Dooling averaged 4.0 points for the Celtics last season, and Collins averaged 1.3 points and 1.6 rebounds for the Hawks last season.

Christmas and Smith secured contracts with their play during Boston's two summer leagues.

--The Celtics tried to do the Jason Terry deal as a sign and trade to keep their $5 million mid-level exception alive, but Dallas wasn't interested in what the C's had to offer. So they went ahead and signed Terry to a straight free agent deal for three years.

"Jason is one of the best sixth men in the NBA, and his versatility in the backcourt is a great addition to our roster," said Danny Ainge, the Celtics' president of basketball operations.

Said Terry, "The Celtics have such a great tradition of winning, and it was something that drew me to the team right away. I look forward to getting out onto the court and helping this team in its pursuit of another banner."

--More than a week after losing free agent Ray Allen to Miami, the Celts were still answering questions about their disappointment.

"No one player makes a team, and players chose not to come here all the time," said Ainge. "There's 30 good basketball teams out there. It's a very competitive league, and there's other teams outside of Boston -- and we knew Ray had this option and this opportunity. And he chose to go in that direction."

Ainge tried to keep any inner displeasure hidden after Allen took $3 million less per season to go south, but he did open the window a bit.

"I don't feel like we lost Ray," Ainge said. "I feel like Ray left us to go to Miami.

"We appreciate all that Ray's done and all that him and Shannon (his wife) have done in our community. And we tried to get Ray back and he chose to go to Miami."

QUOTE TO NOTE
"I've got a feeling they sabotaged my lineup. They traded away my players and everything. Austin Ainge (assistant GM and assistant coach this summer) is going to fired. He's going to be fired at some point." -- Tyronn Lue, joking after the Celtics lost their last three games in the Las Vegas Summer League following the trade that sent E'Twaun Moore, JaJuan Johnson and Sean Williams to Houston.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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