Paul Pierce was recently traded from the Boston Celtics to the Brooklyn Nets. His contract with the Nets is worth an estimated $15 million in 2013-2014 and the following year he will be a free agent. He previously had a 4 year contract with Boston Celtics worth $61 million. The Celtics took a chance on Pierce in the 1998 draft, selecting the small forward out of Kansas with the No. 10 pick when others had passed on him. Pierce took a chance on the Celtics, sticking it out in Boston through highs and lows, through Marcus Banks, J.R. Bremer, Bryant Stith, Ricky Davis, and Tony Delk, through Rick Pitino and Jim O’Brien. In Pierce’s first season, the Celtics finished last in the Atlantic Division. In the season before the arrivals of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, they suffered an 18-game losing streak.

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Danny Ainge made a necessary trade Thursday in sending Pierce and Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets for contracts and draft picks. We watched Pierce grow up, watched him rein in the bravado of a 21-year-old kid and use it for good on the game’s biggest stages. He led a ragtag bunch to the 2002 Eastern Conference Finals. He took down LeBron, then Kobe, in 2008. After securing Boston’s 17th championship, Pierce, named Finals MVP, stated that he was the best player in the world. It was hard to argue with him.

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