Pierce signs three-year extension with Celtics
BOSTON -- Paul Pierce, the Celtics captain whose prolific but occasionally troubled career put him on the trading block last summer, signed a three-year, $59 million contract extension Monday that would keep him in Boston through the 2010-11 season.
"This represents a milestone for the Celtics and for Paul Pierce," owner Wyc Grousbeck said. "Paul ... has become a team leader on and off the court in the best Celtic tradition."
Pierce is scheduled to make about $31.5 million over the next two years, including a player option for 2007-08. The extension adds three years and $59 million after that, a basketball official told The Associated Press, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the terms.
A five-time All-Star, Pierce has played his entire eight-year career with Boston and became co-captain in 2000. But his partnership with Antoine Walker failed to add to the team's record cache of 16 NBA titles, and Pierce struggled in his role as elder statesman after he and Walker were split up.
During the 2005 playoffs, Pierce was ejected in a bizarre and, in his words, "boneheaded" move during Game 6 of their first-round playoff series against Indiana. But he put his troubles aside last season and averaged a career-high 26.8 points with 6.7 rebounds and 4.7 assists, equaling Larry Bird with his fourth straight 2,000-point season.
"Paul is one of the greatest Celtics in the history of our franchise," said Danny Ainge, the team's president of basketball operations. "We are very happy to have him under contract for the next five years to lead us in the prime of his career."
Pierce is the eighth-leading scorer in Celtics history. Last season, he led the team in scoring 63 times, in rebounds 26 times and in assists 31 times.
"The Celtics organization and the fans of Boston and New England have been great," he said. "And now we can continue to strive to put the 17th championship banner up in the rafters."
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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