Paul Pierce: “I want to retire a Celtic”

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Since Rajon Rondo went down with an ACL injury, I had not been alone in calling for the Celtics to start making big changes — it’s time to transition to the next phase of the Celtics.

But saying that and actually doing something like trading Paul Pierce is something else entirely.

He is a 14-year Celtic, a champion and finals MVP, a 10-time All-Star wearing the green. He is the most iconic Celtic player since the Bird era ended. He is beloved. Trading him is hard just for the sentimental reasons.

And he doesn’t want to go, he told the Boston Herald (via Celticsblog).

“You know, I want to retire as a Celtic,” said Pierce. “That’s been my longtime goal. But it’s not in my control. The organization, they make their decisions, but it’s something I desire.”

GM Danny Ainge has talked more than once about wanting to break up this Celtics era earlier rather than later. But can he really just trade Paul Pierce?

Pierce has one season on his contract, one that can be bought out for $5 million. He’s still a valuable scorer who can create his own shot and will step into more of a point-forward role with Rondo out.

He has a lot of trade value. But can the Celtics really pull that trigger?

Warriors coach Steve Kerr downplays argument with Jordan Bell (video)

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So much went right for the Warriors in their blowout of the Lakers on Monday.

But there were a couple snags. Stephen Curry slipping and falling and air-balling. And Steve Kerr and Jordan Bell arguing on the bench.

Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area:

Kerr, visibly upset, addressed the matter but kept his comment brief and vague.

“It was a total misinterpretation of something I said,” he said, “and we cleared it up.”

Kerr surely would like to think this is the end of it, as would Bell. And perhaps it is. But there have been questions about Bell’s commitment and habits dating back to at least the middle of his rookie season.

Coaches and players say a lot of things quickly during games. A comment being misinterpreted and causing an overreaction isn’t the end of the world.

But it usually doesn’t lead to an exchange that looks so heated. That Bell thought Kerr said something so off-putting toward him – whether Kerr actually did or didn’t – is telling.

After a promising rookie season, Bell has declined this year. He’s not even a permanent member of the rotation. With DeMarcus Cousins returning, Bell could be even further deemphasized.

Bell has potential as a versatile defender who finishes above the rim and moves the ball well. Golden State could particularly maximize his skill set.

First, Bell – who’ll be a free agent this summer – must show he’s on the same page as his coach.

Celtics play themselves with Al Horford tweets

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
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The Celtics eventually deleted the first one, but these two Al Horford tweets back-to-back are a masterpiece:

screenshot-twitter.com-2019.01.22-15-54-57

Russell Westbrook beefs with Damian Lillard, Evan Turner, Jusuf Nurkic (video)

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Russell Westbrook neared peak Russell Westbrook last night.

During the Thunder’s win over the Trail Blazers, he talked trash to Damian Lillard and exchanged pointed laughs and words with Jusuf Nurkic. Westbrook also scored 29 points, dished 14 assists and grabbed 10 rebounds. After the game, he mocked Evan Turner for stealing his trademark rock-the-baby celebration and called Nurkic a “clown” (to which Nurkic responded online by calling the Oklahoma City star “Westbrick”).

For better or worse – mostly better last night – Westbrook always brings that same energy to everything he does.

Frustrated Luka Doncic tears jersey (video)

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Luka Doncic has been showing his anger lately – kicking a ball into the stands and, last night, tearing his jersey entering halftime. At least that last outburst didn’t get him ejected.

Doncic got a fresh jersey for the second half and helped the Mavericks beat the Clippers, 106-98.