Paul Pierce says this will be his final season in NBA
LOS ANGELES (AP) Paul Pierce decided to return for his 19th and last season in the NBA, convinced the Los Angeles Clippers can make a successful run to their first league title.
The 10-time All-Star first disclosed his decision Monday in a posting on The Players' Tribune and later expanded on it at the team's media day. He turns 39 on Oct. 13, the same birthdate as coach Doc Rivers.
''The reason for me coming back is this group,'' he said. ''This group is talented enough to win a championship. I want to come back and give it one more try and help them get over the top.''
Pierce said early in the summer he wasn't motivated to work out, but his hunger had returned by August. He averaged 6.1 points and 2.7 rebounds in 18.1 minutes over 68 games last season.
''Last season left a bad taste in my mouth, how the season went and how I played,'' he said. ''Why not give it one more shot? To win a championship here for the Los Angeles Clippers would be monumental.''
Pierce grew up in nearby Inglewood and enjoys playing in front of his mother, brothers and cousins after stints on the East Coast with Boston, Brooklyn and Washington.
With Kevin Garnett's retirement last week, Pierce is the lone active player with over 25,000 points, 7,500 rebounds and 4,500 assists.
He spent his first 15 seasons with the Celtics, winning the 2008 NBA championship with them under Rivers.
''Paul has meant a lot to me,'' Rivers said. ''When you win a title with someone you're connected with those people the rest of your life. More kids should watch Paul more than some of the other guys, how he did it without athleticism.''
He is 16th on the NBA's career scoring list.