The Washington Wizards lost to the Atlanta Hawks in crushing fashion last night, 82-81. Now, as a result, veteran Paul Pierce may hang it up for good.
According to the Washington Post, Pierce is seriously questioning his future after a last second buzzer-beating shot was waived off after replay deemed it to have left his hands after time expired.
“Truthfully, what was going through my mind is, I don’t have too much of these efforts left, if any,” Pierce said after the game. “These rides throughout the NBA season, throughout the playoffs, are very emotional. They take a lot out of not only your body, but your mind, your spirit.”
Last night, his body language certainly echoed that sentiment. In fact, one could surmise from his expression and actions following the Wizards’ defeat that retirement is almost certainly around the corner for Paul.
“As he walked off the corner of the Verizon Center court Friday night, Paul Pierce looked into the crowd and saluted once, twice, three times. He tossed his headband into the stands and flicked his wrist band at another group of fans. And then Pierce ducked his head and disappeared down the tunnel, a quiet exit after a sickening end, another piece of him left behind, maybe for the final time.”
Pierce was a welcomed addition to a young Wizards team that lacked true veteran leadership when they acquired him in the offseason. He also came up big for the team during this playoff run, sinking the game winner in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal versus the Hawks, no small feat for a young team trying to earn its playoff stripes.
But now the question becomes not about skill, but rather a desire to return, a fact Yahoo! Sports debates following the Wizards’ loss to the Hawks.
“The question, of course, is not whether Pierce can contribute, but whether he wants to. That $6-million player option is an enticing reason to come back, but Pierce is estimated to have made more than $190 million over his 17 seasons and doesn’t appear to be hurting for money. It’s an entirely possible that he’ll decide it’s not worth spending another season trudging through 82 games and likely a few rounds of the playoffs just to see another difficult defeat. While context matters, Pierce sounds like a person who had considered retirement before the immediate aftermath of elimination.”
In the end, a crushing loss like the one suffered by Paul Pierce and the Wizards will take time to heal and any decisions about his future will probably be on hold until then. Once that feeling subsides, however, then the true soul searching begins.
[Photo credit: Andreas Rentz / Getty Images]