Q : What would you prefer, the burden of expectations that you have now or the burden of having to carry a team like you had to before?
A: I think now there’s a lot of weight off my shoulders with the additions of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen and also James Posey. So, you know, I’ve been carrying a heavy load for the Celtics over many years and I’m not getting any younger and the load was getting heavier every year. So I’m real happy to have the chance to play with these guys and hopefully aim for a championship.
Q: The Celtics are such a storied franchise. Can you tell us what it is like to play for such a successful franchise and carry such a burden from the past?
A: Everyday when you walk in to the arena and you see the 16 championships the former players … I mean, this organization is one of the best in the history of basketball so there has definitely been a lot of pressure over the years and there still is. As soon as you put on the uniform you know that will always be high, given the past and the history.
Q: Go back two years when Danny Ainge was explaining what he was trying to do and one of the goals was obviously to trade for a star like Kevin Garnett or Ray Allen, was there any point when you were maybe thinking that it wasn’t going to happen and that maybe you were getting into despair a little bit?
A: Yeah, this year! Especially the way the season went and especially with my injury, I started to think that it wouldn’t happen and that they would get the No. 1 draft pick and probably trade me in a rebuilding process. Once we didn’t get the No. 1 pick and then we traded for Ray Allen, then I started to think that things were going to work out.
Q: You now have those two additions. All three of you are used to being THE guy so how will you defer to each other or combine your talents?
A: Well, obviously you have to make sacrifices; we’ve all been used to carrying the load for our respective franchises. So now we have to focus on the little things we can do to make each other better and to compliment each other. We may have to change or at least adapt our roles compared to what we were used to doing in the past. We’re all capable of scoring 25 points a game but that won’t happen when you have a guy like Ray and Kevin. No team in history has ever had three players average 25 points a game so we may have to change our roles. Personally, I may have to concentrate more on my defense.
Q: Can you talk about the opportunity for the Celtics to play in front of a whole new realm of fans that are probably familiar with the team, in terms of the history of the team, but probably not with the current position of the team?
A: We understand that people are going to have great expectations and a lot of fans are going to come out and its going to be a whole new atmosphere that we're not used to. We're just going to go out there and have a lot of fun.
Q: You've seen a few of your teammates get traded but there are still some key players, how important will the rest of the team be in helping bring Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett into the system?
A: Well, you know who the stars are on both teams but a team needs all players so those guys are very important. These guys are going to be big for us. There are going to be a number of them that are going to have to step up this year and I'm confident that they will. Eddie House has played on a number of winning teams, and these guys are going to be big for us. Tony Allen has come back so it's not just about me Ray and Kevin.
Q: I'm curious how much you've been in Boston the last couple of weeks. I know Ray Allen has been there. Has Kevin Garnett and have you worked out together? How far along are you?
A: We've been working out together for about two weeks now; coming in every morning, so we're familiar with one another. I think everyone has been in at some point throughout this month and it's been good for us to all come together and build a foundation on us to build on. Playing everyday, working out everyday and even doing things off the court.
Q: How excited are you for this year versus maybe other years in your career?
A: This will be the first year that I'm coming into the season and there are lots of expectations on us. In all of my nine years I don't think we've been expected to do much. So it's going to be a lot of fun, they are going to be ups and downs but I think we'll get through it.
Q: It must have been like Christmas and a Birthday at once when Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett came to Boston. Tell us how you received the news and what was your first personal reaction?
A: I was very excited. After the Ray Allen trade I knew I would be playing with another All-Star and getting Kevin Garnett was the icing on the cake -- one of the best players in the league. I get to play with guys that want the same thing I want and nothing more than a championship. The great thing about these guys is that they are unselfish guys and I know they want an NBA Championship.
Q: Talking about the NBA championship do you think it's possible to reach that goal this year?
A: Definitely. I don't see why not. It's hard to say right now until we can get our chemistry down and playing well together and those are things we're already working on, but we have our work cut out and our expectation is to win a championship
Q: Can you talk about Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett?
A: I knew KG since high school and I knew Ray from All-Star. It's going to be great. I think the good thing about it is just being around them, the respect we have for one another. We've all been in tough situations in the last few years, working hard with our teams. The great thing about it is we all want a championship. We've been getting to know each other over the past few weeks both on and off the court. These guys are a lot of fun, I knew them on the court and now I know them off the court.
Q: Talk about your adjustment, knowing that your scoring average is going to dip, but also the pressure is not on you as much. How much do you have to adjust personally to the other guys?
A: Well, it's going to be a lot off my shoulders knowing that after the game all the media aren't going to rush to me! These guys are going to take pressure off me to lead as much as I'm going to take pressure off of them. These guys are focused on wining the championship as we've already talked about it.
Q: You guys have been doing workouts for the past couple of weeks. What's it been like?
A: You learn how hard they work day in and day out. They are great players and I watched them on NBA TV in the past but just knowing what they do every day to prepare themselves on the court is what I wanted to watch. You definitely learn something from that -- what makes a great player. Just being around them and seeing them on the court.
Q: The last couple of years the question was will Paul Pierce still be a Celtic and this trade seems to have given you a rebirth.
A: It definitely has. I mean, I didn't know what my future was going to bring even this summer. Once they made the move and acquired KG and Allen I knew I would be here and it's taken a burden off me and I'll finally get the chance to play for the championship.
Q: What do you think your team will gain from doing the training camp in Europe?
A: I think it's good for all of us. We're trying to build a foundation and start the chemistry. We'll get to know each other on and off the court that’s the good thing about us going out of the country. After practice, guys will have a chance to bond together instead of going home to their families. It's just going to be us out there and we're going to have to get to know one another 24/7, so it's going to be a good chance for us to get to know each other better on and off the court.
Q: Have you been to London before or Italy?
A: I went to London and Rome this summer to visit.
Q: When you come to London you're going to be playing against the Timberwolves. It's going to be a big game for Kevin Garnett playing against his former team, and you're going to be playing against a lot of your former teammates, what's that game going to be like?
A: It's probably going to be a lot of emotions because of the guys that have been traded. So its probably going to mean more to them than it does to me as they've been traded, but will be interesting as there are going to be a lot of new guys.
Q: Did it get to the point that you were starting to feel alone over the past couple of years.
A: It got to the point that I didn't know which direction to go. It hit me really hard this year when I got hurt and I had to sit back and watch. I knew I was going to have to make a decision this summer.
Q: Are there certain parts of your game that you've focused on more this offseason?
A: Probably just my defense. I know that I can play a bigger role defensively this year. I think a lot of offensive pressure is going to be taken off me so I can focus on my defense. I am going to go out there and guard some of the best guys in the NBA and guard them well so that's my main focus this summer.
Q: What would you say would be the most important thing that you would want to find out or accomplish this preseason?
A: Just getting better day-to-day. Building the system and learning about my teammates. You have to play well altogether to be a good team so hopefully we can do to get off to a good start for the beginning of the season.
Q: How long do you think the team will need to get rolling?
A: It's hard to say. It's like being a chemist. You have to put together a formula and it has to be the right one. So it's not going to be something that just happens. I can't tell you how many days it will take or whether it will be at the start or the end. But it's going to come together as we continue to work hard and as guys want to come together.