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Paul Pierce to return for 19th season, then retire

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Does Paul Pierce deserve a farewell tour? (0:32)

The SportsNation group are in agreement that although he will most likely become a Hall of Famer, Paul Pierce is not on "a Kobe level" so a farewell tour is not necessary. (0:32)

L.A. Clippers forward Paul Pierce announced Monday via The Players' Tribune that he will return for his 19th season, then retire.

"This is it, my final season," Pierce said. "It's time to move on from the game of basketball. Just like any difficult decision, I think you've got to be at peace with yourself. I'm at peace with retiring, but I've got one more ride left. One more season. One more opportunity."

Pierce, who turns 39 in October, said he felt uncertainty about coming back for 2016-17 because of the grind of another NBA offseason. But upon contemplating the Clippers' first-round playoff loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, he said unfinished business pulled him back to Los Angeles for another title run.

"I think why not give it one more shot, especially the way we went out of the playoffs, the injuries," Pierce said at Clippers media day Monday. "Obviously, you've got to be good, you've got to be lucky, but I just want to just give it one more shot.

"Like I said, to win a championship here for the Los Angeles Clippers would be monumental, and if I can be a part of that, that's something I thought about, and that's something that drove me from August, starting in August on."

Clippers coach Doc Rivers addressed Pierce's decision to make this season his last as an NBA player.

"Paul has meant a lot to me, obviously," said Rivers, who won an NBA title with Pierce in Boston in 2008. "When you win a title with someone, just like him and KG [Kevin Garnett] and the whole group, you're connected with that person, those people for the rest of your lives, and you should be."

Earlier this month, Rivers said Pierce was on the fence about returning for another season but that he believed Pierce has something left in the tank.

Pierce played the first 15 seasons of his career in Boston, nine of them for Rivers.

Rivers recruited Pierce to Los Angeles last season as a veteran presence with knowledge of how to win an NBA championship, hoping he would be the final piece to push the Clippers over the top. But injuries to All-Stars Blake Griffin and Chris Paul led to a first-round postseason exit.

"Paul is not going to be in a lot of highlights, but when you watch how he played, and fundamentally how well he played, I think that's actually what kids should really watch, is how he did it without using his athleticism that he actually has," Rivers said.

Pierce has averaged 20.6 points and 5.7 rebounds per game in his career. After his Boston tenure, he spent one season with the Brooklyn Nets, another with the Washington Wizards and last year with the Clippers. He averaged 6.1 points and 2.7 rebounds per game last season.

"With the Clippers, in the city where I grew up, I feel like I have that opportunity on a great team," Pierce wrote Monday. "We're hungry. We want to win a championship.

"After 18 NBA years, it's hard to believe I'll be playing in each arena for the last time. So I'm going to enjoy every practice, every bus ride, every team dinner, every time running out through the tunnel. I'm going to do my part to give us a shot at the ultimate goal."

Pierce was the No. 10 pick out of Kansas in the 1998 NBA draft. The 10-time All-Star is currently 16th on the NBA all-time scoring list with 26,316 points.

"I've been in the NBA 18 years, but I've been playing basketball, like, 30 years," Pierce said Monday. "It's hard to walk away from that, but like most homes, you get that 30-year mortgage. I've paid it off, so it's time to ride off into the sunset."