http://espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/2015/story/_/id/12896829/2015-nba-playoffs-paul-pierce-washington-wizards-unsure-playing-future-elimination-atlanta-hawksWASHINGTON -- After seeing his would-be, overtime-forcing 3-pointer waved off at the end of Game 6, Paul Pierce walked off the floor wondering how much more of these he has left in him.
Pierce, 37, said his future is uncertain after the Wizards were eliminated 94-91 by the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night. The Hawks advanced after a video review showed Pierce's dramatic 3 was still on his fingertips as the clock expired.
The 17-year veteran will decide later with his family whether to exercise a $5.5 million player option to return for the final year of his contract.
"I haven't really thought about it," Pierce said more than an hour after the loss at the Verizon Center. "I don't even know if I am going to play basketball anymore. These seasons get harder and harder every year, every day. Summers get even harder when you start getting back in shape. I'm 37 years old. I'm top two or three oldest in the league."
Pierce, the one-time NBA champion and veteran of three teams, was the eighth-oldest player in the NBA this season.
It would be somewhat surprising if Pierce retired. Not only did he show he can still hit clutch shots this postseason, but he has repeatedly talked about how much he has enjoyed mentoring young stars such as John Wall and Bradley Beal during his first season in Washington. Pierce also told ESPN's Jackie MacMullan last month he expects next season to be his last.
But the pain of losing this closely contested series with Atlanta stung Pierce hard. Long after the Game 6 loss, he remained slumped in front of his locker stall still in uniform while many of his teammates already had showered and dressed.