Pierce: Celtics still chasing Cavaliers for East supremacy
Nathaniel S. Butler / National Basketball Association / Getty

Paul Pierce bleeds green through and through, but he's not letting the hype of this offseason get to him.

The Truth still sees his beloved Boston Celtics chasing the Cleveland Cavaliers for tops in the East after the two leading East powers swapped Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas this week.

"The Cavs are definitely better," Pierce explained on ESPN's "The Jump." "You have King James, you've been to the Finals for three straight years, and then you got better this offseason.

"You added Derrick Rose. You added Isaiah Thomas that does many of the things Kyrie does. Then you talk about their bench. They have Jae Crowder, they got a 3-and-D guy, and those guys don't come a dime a dozen.

"They've gotten better, they've gotten deeper, and they're still the team to beat in the East."

Boston and Cleveland both significantly retooled this summer, but the Celtics added more talent to close the gap between the two sides.

The Celtics signed Gordon Hayward in free agency, nabbed Jayson Tatum with the No. 3 pick, and dealt for Irving and Marcus Morris. The Cavaliers responded by signing cheap veterans and by flipping a disgruntled Irving into two future assets in addition to Crowder and Thomas.

However, the bottom line still comes down to James, who the Celtics have absolutely no answer for. Whichever team he plays for in the Eastern conference will automatically be considered the team to beat given his history.

Pierce did acknowledge, however, that the Celtics are next in line for East supremacy with their collection of stars in their prime and blue-chip prospects.

"If you look at Boston with the way they're positioned, for the next five or six years with the young players surrounded by the veterans, this could be a team that could be in the Finals three or four times," Pierce said.

Pierce: Celtics still chasing Cavaliers for East supremacy
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