With Paul Pierce at 38 years old and little left to give to the game of basketball, we may have seen the last of the 2008 Finals MVP.
Following the Los Angeles Clippers‘ season-ending loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night, Pierce commented on his chances of returning for a 19th season. The 6'7″ forward told reporters he's “50-50” on coming back next year:
Paul Pierce says he's 50/50 on coming back next season… But wants to avoid making an emotional decision.
— Kristina Pink (@Kristina_Pink) April 30, 2016
The 38-year-old Pierce had signed a three-year deal worth $10 million with the Clippers before the start of the 2015-16 season. While Los Angeles' season has come to an early end due to the season-ending injuries to Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, Pierce was completely ineffective the entire season.
After a solid 2014-15 season which saw Pierce lead the Washington Wizards to the second round of the playoffs, the veteran forward looked old despite receiving many opportunities in the starting lineup from head coach Doc Rivers. He averaged just 6.1 points on 36 percent shooting in 18.1 minutes per game.
Perhaps most troubling was that Pierce never gained any momentum in the postseason as he normally does. During the six-game series loss to the Blazers, he shot just 2-of-12 from the field and averaged just 1.2 points in 10.8 minutes per contest, a clear decline in playing time from his regular season numbers. This decline in playing time was despite the Clippers' troubles with injuries throughout the series.
Pierce will have to make a decision on whether or not his body can go through the grind of another 82-game season. He'll turn 39 years old in October.