Boston Celtics: Kevin Garnett

Pondering Pierce's future

May, 16, 2014
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CHICAGO -- The Boston Celtics' brain trust spent Thursday observing potential future additions at the NBA's draft combine in Chicago, but chatter about the team often turned to its past given the recent playoff ouster of the Brooklyn Nets and old friends Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.

David Richard/USA TODAY SportsWhat does the future hold for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett after Brooklyn's season ended Wednesday?
Is this it for Garnett? What does the future hold for Pierce? Just as it was for Celtics for much of the 2013-14 season, Garnett and Pierce remain close at mind as the Green navigate a rebuilding process aimed at restoring the contender status that existed throughout the Big Three era.

Celtics fans are well versed in the annual KG speculation. We should know how it goes by now and Garnett will silently retreat to Malibu and ponder his future after 19 years in the league. Even with $315 million in career earnings, the soon-to-be 38-year-old Garnett has 12 million reasons to return to the court despite his struggles this past season.

Pierce's future is a bit more intriguing, particularly as he prepares to become an unrestricted free agent. Speculation is already running rampant:
Though Pierce, a free agent to be, walked through the Nets' practice gym on the team's breakup day without speaking to reporters, it was impossible to miss that the 16-year veteran was wearing a Boston Red Sox hat that seemed to send a loud-and-clear message: His intended audience was Boston. He wants to go back. And he didn't care if the bad optics offended anyone on his last day as a Net.

Pierce wouldn't commit to returning to the Nets after they lost their second-round series to the Miami Heat on Wednesday night, even though he said he wants to play one or two more years. Yet he had no problem earlier this season speaking at length about how he'd love to finish his playing days with the Celts.

[ESPN New York: Pierce, Garnett experiment a letdown]

When asked about a potential return to Boston earlier this season, Pierce didn't rule out the possibility, but suggested that was more likely to occur after his playing days. Pierce has said he envisions a possible front office role with the Celtics when he hangs up his hightops and you can easily imagine that scenario (think Jason Varitek and his special assistant to the GM role with the Red Sox).

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But Pierce returning to Boston to close out his playing career? We've pondered that scenario recently and, unless there's some serious fireworks from the Celtics early this offseason, it simply seems unlikely that Pierce would desire to finish his playing days without a surefire chance to compete for a title.

Pierce, who will turn 37 before the start of next season, showed during the 2013-14 season that there's still plenty left in his tank. Former coach Doc Rivers often suggested that Pierce could play until he's 50 because of his crafty nature. Nostalgic Celtics fans, punch drunk from a 57-loss rebuilding season, will fantasize about Pierce returning to provide the sort of veteran leadership that could aid Boston's younger players, but Pierce's focus at this stage of his career is almost certainly on adding the titles that would cement his NBA legacy.

Our gut tells us Pierce is more likely to end his playing days with a top title contender. If Garnett elects to return to Brooklyn for that final season of his current contract, Pierce will feel a strong pull to stay alongside his good friend, the one that he talked into the summer blockbuster that delivered the duo from Boston, despite the Nets' future uncertainty.

If Garnett rides off into the sunset, Pierce will find no shortage of interest from contending teams. He'll almost certainly feel a strong pull from the West Coast, especially if Rivers phones to recruit him for a Clippers team that met the same disappointing second-round demise as the Nets despite similar championship aspirations.

Pierce, an Inglewood native, would likely be intrigued by the idea of playing back home. Dare we ponder if he might even consider closing out his playing days with a (gulp) Lakers team that he once feverishly cheered as a child? (Don't fret about that quite yet, Celtics fans, as the Lakers need plenty of their own fireworks to make Pierce truly consider that).

Ultimately, the Celtics need to remain locked on the future rather than dwelling on the past. The idea of a Pierce return is fun to consider, but Boston's focus right now should be on identifying the players that can lead the team the way Pierce did in his 15 seasons here.

If nothing else, Pierce already did his part to aid Boston's future. The three first-round draft picks delivered in that deal will go a long way toward helping the Celtics return to contender status, while the Nets might have paid a hefty ransom for five playoff wins.

[Additional reading: Pierce: One or two more years left | Nets Summer Scoop]

Garnett, Pierce feel for former coach Rivers

April, 29, 2014
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce say they feel for what their former coach, Doc Rivers, is going through now as he tries to navigate the Clippers through unprecedented controversy.

“Definitely, it’s a tough situation,” Pierce said. “Your owner is labeled as a racist. You’re a head black coach, head president. It’s a tough situation to work for somebody like that so it’s hard to be in that situation this time of the year, so much on the line.

“But I know Doc is very headstrong and he’ll work it out.”

Garnett said he has sent his support to Rivers.

“I think it’s important for obviously players to be unified,” Garnett said. “The Sterlings of the world obviously exist. Sports brings cultures together. We need to focus on that.

“If any coach can deal with it, he can,” Garnett added. “Doc is one of the most resilient coaches I’ve ever played for. Not just helped me out as a player but helped me out as a young man, helped me as a better father and a better person. I hope that he is able to spread some of that to his players and his organization.”

As things have turned out, Garnett might be glad he didn’t end up a Clipper last summer.

Garnett was mentioned in a potential side deal to Rivers’ pact to join the Clippers last year. In the end, only Rivers ended up with the Clippers while former Celtics Garnett and Pierce became Brooklyn Nets.

Garnett was asked if he would’ve wanted to become a Clipper and follow Rivers knowing what he knows now about owner Donald Sterling, who was banned for life by NBA commissioner Adam Silver on Tuesday.

“I’m a Net,” Garnett said after Nets practice. “I don’t focus on almost. In high school, I never dealt with the chick that almost wanted to go out with me.”

KG sitting out second return to Boston

March, 6, 2014
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Kevin Garnett will not make his second return to Boston due to back spasms.

The Nets' defensive quarterback did not make the trip with the team to Boston and will miss his fourth straight game on Friday due to his ailing back. Rookie Mason Plumlee could start again in place of Garnett.

The Nets, who have won four straight games, did not practice on Thursday. But general manager Billy King doesn’t expect Garnett to be out for a significant amount of time.

“The one thing with KG as we have done with all our guys, it is more about getting them to the point where they are ready for the stretch,” King said in an interview on SiriusXM NBA Radio. “There is no timetable on it. Just day to day. When he is ready and shows he is ready to go he will be back. I don’t expect it to be a long time.”

The Nets (30-29) beat Milwaukee, Chicago and Memphis without Garnett. Defensively, they held those three opponents to an average of 90.6 points and also recorded 14, 19 and 14 steals in each of those wins.

“[Garnett’s absence] makes guys step up,” Williams said. “And I think guys have stepped up to the challenge.”

Paul Pierce knows more than anyone how bad Garnett wants to play, especially in a game back in Boston. When the Nets played in Boston for the first time this season on Jan. 26, the Celtics franchise honored Pierce and Garnett with an emotional tribute. It was a sentimental return for both former Celtics.

“It is tough for him,” Pierce said of Garnett not being able to play. “We had a chance to see him get out on the court and do some extra stuff [on Wednesday before beating Memphis]. But he is a competitor. He hates to sit out. The good thing is we need him to get his rest so he can come back full strength.”

(Read full story)

La La: Garnett didn't make cereal reference

January, 28, 2014
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Do you remember the Carmelo Anthony-Kevin Garnett dustup last year? Do you remember hearing that Garnett made reference to a certain cereal in remarks he allegedly made to Carmelo? Well, what you heard was inaccurate, according to La La Anthony.

Anthony writes in her new book, "The Playbook," that Garnett never made a reference to cereal when he was talking trash to Anthony.

Anthony was incensed at Garnett and later confronted him outside of the Celtics' locker room and the team bus.

He was suspended for his actions and sat out the Knicks' next game against Indiana.

"I wasn't ever going to bring up the Honey Nut Cheerios incident again. But since I'm writing this book, I might as well set the record straight for good," La La writes in the book, according to the New York Post. The book was released Tuesday. "Kevin Garnett in fact had never said that I tasted like Honey Nut Cheerios. I tried to figure out how this big lie was turned into a media firestorm. I still can't answer that one ... Melo and Kevin are cool today. And now it's nothing but a faint memory."

Anthony adds: "At first I was embarrassed and angry but then I just had to laugh about it. I mean, that was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard and if Kevin Garnett had actually said that about me, what exactly did it mean?

"Because he and I were never more than passing acquaintances. It was just dumb.

"While people had a lot of fun with the whole Honey Nut Cheerios thing, the truth is they couldn't really take it much further than that because of how I carry myself."

KG holds it together

January, 27, 2014
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BOSTON -- Ever the competitor, Kevin Garnett put a towel over his head while Boston Celtics fans roared with appreciation. He didn't want anyone to see him getting emotional.

Steve Babineau/NBAE/Getty ImagesKevin Garnett hides his face while getting emotional as he's saluted by Celtics fans.
For six months, Garnett knew the video tribute celebrating his six years in Boston was coming. But sitting in the unfamiliar confines of the visiting locker room at TD Garden, both Garnett and Paul Pierce had joked just a short time before about who would be the first to tear up. Garnett was sure it wouldn't be him.

But he felt the emotions surging, the lump forming in his throat. Garnett sought refuge in a white towel not nearly big enough to shield him.

Then came a much-needed save: The Bee Gee's "You Should Be Dancing," a song that served as the soundtrack for Garnett's beloved Gino, the dancer whose smooth moves highlighted an American Bandstand clip that rolled at the end of Boston's lopsided wins (of which there were many during Garnett's tenure).

Excitedly, Garnett looked back up at the video board to find a simple "Thank you, KG!" message, but the words were positioned around an image of KG pointing up at Gino on the JumboTron. The only thing a greedy Garnett could have asked for was to see a little bit of Gino's dancing.

"I had to compose myself before I looked back up, that's why I was kind of putting my head down, threw my towel on, but I thought Gino was going to get cracking," Garnett said with a big smile. "I should have asked [Rajon] Rondo [at dinner on Saturday night], 'Rondo, get them to throw some Gino up tomorrow.' It was all good."

Suggesting his return to Boston was tougher than his first trip back to Minnesota, where he started his NBA odyssey, Garnett detailed his ride on an emotional roller coaster while back at TD Garden on Sunday. But he stressed that, even without Gino, the video tribute and the fans' reaction exceeded even his wildest expectations for coming back.

"This was over the top," Garnett said. Later he added, "What comes to mind is unbelievable, I didn't expect anything like that for myself. It shows the first-class type of organization that this is and the appreciation from this organization for you. And I couldn't put it into words.

"Paul and I were joking before the game, who was going to tear up and drop a tear. I had lumps in my throat. I kept them under control and I focused as much as I could on the game and not take away from it. But, man, this was over the top. I couldn't put that into words."

(Read full story)

Video: KG, Pierce tributes

January, 27, 2014
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BOSTON -- A look at the Boston Celtics tribute videos for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett from inside TD Garden during Sunday's homecoming:

KEVIN GARNETT

 

PAUL PIERCE

 


Hop HERE to see Garnett and Pierce introduced to a loud ovation before the game.

Pierce, KG brace for Boston return

January, 26, 2014
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Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY SportsPaul Pierce and Rajon Rondo exchanged preseason pleasantries in Brooklyn. Boston is another story.
During the heyday of the Boston Celtics' most recent Big Three era, there was a video clip of Larry Bird talking about Boston fans that used to run as players took the court for pregame warm-ups.

Kevin Garnett, already dripping with sweat and intensity while preparing for that night's game, would never look up at the video board (the only time he allowed himself that was when Gino was dancing away the final minutes of another lopsided victory), but Garnett heard every word spoken.

"It's funny, they have a little pregame thing they used to always [play]," Garnett explained. "I used to always hear Larry Bird. I would never look up, but I would hear it. Larry would say, 'You can't fool the people of Boston. They know when you're working hard, they know pure basketball.' And that's right. When you go all out, they understand that and they root for that, and that's what they remember."

On Sunday evening, 214 days after the Celtics and the Brooklyn Nets originally agreed to the blockbuster trade that ended the Boston tenure of Garnett and Paul Pierce, the two players return to TD Garden for the first time to play against their former team.

It's been suggested that the Celtics ought to hand out complimentary boxes of Kleenex as fans enter the building. We've been down this path before, with Boston fans having saluted the efforts of other recent heroes from the Big Three era and the 2008 title team. Boston fans roared for Eddie House, Glen Davis, Kendrick Perkins and even put rivalries aside when Ray Allen returned as a member of the Miami Heat.

In December, Doc Rivers was overcome with emotions when the team honored him after the first quarter of his first game back to Boston as coach of the Los Angeles Clippers. Rivers later noted his Boston return was as emotional as he gets, and he had to collect himself numerous times after the game while simply discussing the in-game tribute.

Now, Pierce and Garnett must endure the same.

(Read full story)

Rondo, C's won't shed tears for KG, Pierce

January, 25, 2014
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WALTHAM, Mass. -- Members of the Boston Celtics will pause twice during Sunday's visit from the Brooklyn Nets to honor Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett during their first game back at TD Garden, but don't expect Boston players to get overly emotional. Boston players have moved on from the departure of the two Celtics legends and are more focused on how to get this team back to contender status in the future than dwelling on past success.

The Celtics are expected to run two video tributes with Garnett first (likely at the game's first timeout) then Pierce (likely after the first quarter). Celtics first-year coach Brad Stevens said he'll hurry his team in and out of the huddle at those breaks in order to appropriately acknowledge what those players meant to the organization.

But no need to save a box of tissues for Rajon Rondo, the only holdover from that Big Three era and the guy who won a title with Pierce and Garnett.

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"Have you seen me tear before?" asked Rondo. Told no, he smiled and offered, "OK then."

Rondo admitted that Pierce and Garnett laid the blueprint for how to be a successful team and taught him how to be a professional. But, like most of his teammates, the sight of those two players in Brooklyn's black-and-white uniforms is no longer staggering and Rondo is more focused on finding a way to slow an opponent that has won nine of its last 10 overall.

"Just like I played against [Oklahoma City's Kendrick Perkins on Friday] night," said Rondo. "There might be a lot of [expletive]-talking, but it’ll be fun. They are competitors, they compete. And I’ll do the same."

Truth be told, these Celtics players are rather divorced from the emotional aspect of Sunday's meeting and they are hoping to take advantage of any loss in focus for Pierce and Garnett.

"It's not a big deal for us; this is a big deal for [the media]," said Brandon Bass, who spent two years with Pierce and Garnett. "It’s more of a big deal for Paul and Kevin, we understand that. ... Hopefully it helps us get a win. That’s what really matters for us."

Echoed Jeff Green: "For me, I've already seen them [in Brooklyn], we already talked, [the emotional aspect is] more for them than for us. It’s going to be emotional for them, coming back for first time. But, for me, we’ve already said our hellos and talked. That has already taken place. It’s just another game against Brooklyn. I'm pretty much over it now."

Stevens reaffirmed that he doesn't know Pierce and Garnett personally, but, "just being a member of the organization, you're thankful for what they did." Stevens acknowledged there will be emotions for those players, and maybe for some of the veterans players still on Boston's roster (at least more than they'll admit), but, "we still have a game to play and that’s what we’re going to prepare to do."

It's important to Stevens to allow his players the opportunity to watch the tributes, just like he did when former coach Doc Rivers returned to Boston in December and when Bill Russell was honored at the home opener in November.

"We’ll get into the huddle and out of the huddle pretty quickly so that they can appropriately honor those guys and it’s what you have to do," said Stevens. "At the same time, then we’ve got to turn our mindset to playing as well as we can against them. Because those guys, first and foremost, achieved what they achieved here because they are competitive guys and they want to do well, too. We’re going to have to be in that mindset, too."

Added Stevens: "There are moments that are big, obviously, in a game. I think we all get caught up in a game. There are bigger things than the game itself. So, again, I don't think it’s anything out of the ordinary that we would do [stopping to watch the tributes]. We’ll get in and out of the huddle as quickly as we can."

Garnett, Pierce ready for emotional visit

January, 25, 2014
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Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are already bracing themselves for an emotional return to Boston on Sunday night.

Jordan Johnson/NBAE/Getty ImagesPaul Pierce and Kevin Garnett visit Boston for the first time on Sunday.
The Brooklyn Nets won for the ninth time in 10 games on Friday with a 107-106 triumph over the Dallas Mavericks at the Barclays Center. But after the game, the focus swung almost immediately to how Pierce and Garnett will play their first game in Boston since the summer blockbuster that delivered them to New York.

"I just know that the emotions will probably be high, just because of the success that we had while we were in Boston," Garnett told reporters in Brooklyn following Friday's win. "We had some really good years there, some really promising years. I think it’s going to be forever, we’re embedded in it. ... I think anybody who’s part of that run and part of that era will always be remembered. Bostonians, New Englanders, they understand that and they never forget their favorites. We was fortunate to be part of that whole transformation.

"Some things are forever, man," Garnett added. "I’m happy to say that I'm part of that era."

Garnett spent most of his seven-minute postgame interview reflecting on his six seasons in Boston, alternating between nostalgia and playfully curiosity in advance of Sunday's visit.

"It’ll be good to be back in Boston," Garnett said. "I hear it’s freezing as s---. No different from New York. East Coast is East Coast. But, for the most part, it should be fun to go back and see what happens."

Added Garnett: "It’ll be what it is, man. I’m going to embrace it for whatever it is and I’m sure the emotions are going to be very high. And then I’ll react accordingly. But we’re there to win a game, and I hope this doesn’t overshadow the game. It’ll be good to see [former teammate Rajon] Rondo and some other personal friends that obviously don't play. Other than that, it’s another game that I have to be prepared for."

Alas, it seems impossible that the Garnett/Pierce return won't overshadow the game itself, particularly given the way Brooklyn is playing lately compared to a Boston team that has lost 13 of its past 15 overall.

For his part, Pierce, who elected to skip a preseason game here in October in order to make this his one-time return to the Garden this season, had already begun making plans for Sunday's game.

"I talked to [Celtics travel and equipment manager John Connor] today and I told him I'll probably sit in the equipment room like I used to always do in my 15 years there, who knows," Pierce said. "It's going to be a little weird, though."

Pierce said it would be fun to see all the familiar faces, including season-ticket holders that watched him grow during his 15 years with the Celtics.

"It's going to be a lot of emotions," Pierce said. "You play your whole life there, you win a championship there, I mean, being the first time back. ... It's going to be special. I don't know how I'll react, what emotions are going to be going through my head."

Maybe because of Boston's recent struggles, Celtics players downplayed the impending return of Pierce and Garnett. Asked about Sunday's game, Rondo said simply, "It’s another game. We need the win."

Pierce is glad to have Garnett alongside for the journey back.

"We shared so many memories, on and off the court -- shared our best memories in Boston," Pierce said. "We won a championship and, when you talk about the ride that we had together and the run, a lot of things go through your head, so it's fun to be able to share it with him."

Doc: Expect 'crazy' BOS return for PP, KG

January, 19, 2014
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AP Photo/Elise AmendolaDoc Rivers believes Celtics fans will make Jan. 26 a special night for KG and Pierce.
NEW YORK –- Doc Rivers was as emotional as he has ever been after seeing the outpouring of love he received from Celtics fans during his return to Boston in early December.

So the former Celtics coach can only imagine what it will be like when Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett return to Boston for the first time when the Nets visit the Celtics on Jan. 26.

"That's going to be awesome," Rivers said before his Clippers faced the Knicks at the Garden on Friday. "It's going to be crazy. It's going to be awesome for them."

The Nets played the Celtics in the preseason at the TD Garden on Oct. 23, but Pierce and Garnett rested and did not play. Both former Celtics will surely be overwhelmed with emotion in their return to Boston.

Rivers immediately drew an ovation from Boston fans when he emerged from the visitor's tunnel at the TD Garden during his return with the Clippers on Dec. 11. There was a video tribute to Rivers with highlights of the 2008 Celtics title team during the second quarter.

Rivers was still trying to compose himself when talking to reporters well after the game that night.

"Yeah, that's as emotional as I ever [been]," Rivers said. "And that was an amazing night for me. It was awesome."

Rivers said he could only imagine what it will be like for his two former players, especially Pierce, who spent his entire career with the Celtics until a trade to the Nets last summer.

"Paul spent his whole career there and never really wanted to leave," Rivers said. "That will be a neat evening for them, and again, especially for Paul."

Rivers said he expected Celtics fans to give Pierce and Garnett a night they will never forget.

"I think the reason the city loved them both is because they did it right and they did everything they could every night to win a basketball game," Rivers said. "Cities feel that. New York is like that. New York, they say white collar, it's blue collar. You know what I mean? People see that.

"And they saw that in Kevin and Paul. And they were champions. So when you do that for a city, it is going to be received well so they will have a great night."

[Bonus Link: KG on 'Little Bro' Rondo in New York Post]

KG-Pierce-Rivers reunion has 'weird' feel

December, 13, 2013
12/13/13
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Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty ImagesReunion in Brooklyn: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Doc Rivers.
One night after his return to Boston, former Celtics coach Doc Rivers visited former players Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in Brooklyn. From our friends at ESPN New York:
NEW YORK -- Kevin Garnett went over to Doc Rivers and hugged his former coach before tipoff.

It was an emotional reunion for Garnett, Rivers and Paul Pierce, the trio that guided the Boston Celtics to the franchise’s latest championship their first season together in 2007-08.

“It was a bit weird. I said something to ‘Truth’ [Pierce], like, ‘Man, this feels weird,’” Garnett said after his and Pierce’s Brooklyn Nets defeated Rivers’ Los Angeles Clippers, 102-93, Thursday at Barclays Center.

“We kind of had like a little conversation about it, but I’ll always have a special place for Doc. I thought he helped me [not only] grow as a player, but as a young man," Garnett said. "Telling us a lot about basketball and the philosophies of it and about being a young man -- a young black man -- understanding our responsibilities because we are men and we were starting our families at the same time.

“And just overall [he’s] a great role model. No one’s perfect -- all humans have their flaws -- but he’s damn near close to it. I’m just grateful that he just came into my life and I’m able to share that experience with him.”

Added Pierce: “It was just fun to go over there, say hi to him, and seeing how he’s doing. I asked him how was Boston [Wednesday night], he was like, ‘You’re next.’ He was very emotional. But it was fun. I actually went over to him and told him I know all his plays, and I’m going to give them away, so it was fun.”

(Read full story)

An almost -- and unsettled -- reunion

November, 17, 2013
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LOS ANGELES -- At some point, Doc Rivers just had to tell Kevin Garnett to stay home. Every game the notoriously intense Garnett wasn't healthy enough to play was a nightmare. He was insufferable on the bench and worse in the locker room. Eventually Rivers just told him to stay home.
AP Photo/Charles KrupaDoc Rivers coached Kevin Garnett for six seasons.
"He drove me crazy," Rivers joked. "It was better for him to just stay home if he couldn't play."

Eventually Rivers accorded Paul Pierce the same latitude. He wasn't as insufferable as Garnett when he was injured, but if KG didn't have to come when he was hurt, Pierce was due the same treatment.

That's how it was in Boston, anyway.

And it appears that's how it'll be in Brooklyn, too.

Instead of a reunion between Rivers and two of the men he'd forged such a deep bond with in Celtic green Saturday night at Staples Center, we got a reminder of just how much things have changed.

Rivers is in Los Angeles now, trying to make winners out of the Clippers. Garnett and Pierce stayed home, resting various injuries. The Nets were trying to win without four of their starters, still wondering if this grand experiment they've leapt headlong into is all going to work out.

The Clippers ended up winning the game 110-103, but that was just the official accounting. Nothing else was settled here Saturday night, and you get the feeling nobody involved in the massive transactions that sent them all to their new homes this summer has a real idea yet how it's all going to work out.

Rivers has bonded with his new stars, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, but is it as deep as the relationship he had with Garnett and Pierce?

New Nets coach Jason Kidd had a bond with Garnett and Pierce as a player, but will that translate into a coach-player relationship?

The Celtics let them all go before it was too late, but how long will it take to reboot? And even if they can, will it ever be as good as what they had?

It was telling that Kidd went along with a system established for Garnett and Pierce on nights they didn't play. Did he come to the same realization Rivers had? Or was he just choosing which battles to fight?

"That was something we set up in Boston, now the Brooklyn Nets have to deal with it," Rivers said with a laugh. "That was kind of funny.

(Read full post)

'SportsCenter' conversation: Pierce, Garnett

July, 18, 2013
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video

ESPNBoston.com's Jackie MacMullan sat down with Brooklyn Nets newcomers Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett for a "SportsCenter" conversation, and the former Celtics stars reflected on what leaving Boston means to them and how the future looks playing for the Nets.

"You spend your whole, almost half of your life in one city, you get used to it," Pierce said. "For you to make the move, it's a huge adjustment. I mean, I know nothing else but Boston."

[+] EnlargeJackie MacMullan and Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce
Bowen Dou/ESPN Jackie MacMullan chats with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce about their Boston past and Brooklyn future.
Added Garnett: "For six years I embraced the same thing, obviously not to his magnitude, but it was enough to where we made our stamp. And this is where we are and where I thought we were going to be.

"And that changed, it's almost like you've got to deal with it. It's not time to be emotional, it's not time to be reflecting. Now you've got to make a decision on for what's best for you in going forward. And that was the most difficult out of all of this -- that things were pushed on, I felt like forced on us a little bit.

"You didn't see the fairy tale ending like this."

Pierce echoed the notion that leaving Boston wasn't something that he had envisioned, but he did acknowledge that he knew it was a real possibility.

"That's the only thing about this whole ordeal, you just wish that -- you look at other players like [Spurs big man] Tim Duncan, [Lakers guard] Kobe [Bryant], [Mavericks forward] Dirk [Nowitzki] ... those guys, they won a championship there, similar to what I've done, been there their whole career," Pierce said.

"It really kind of hurt, when you look at the news throughout the season, when [Mavericks owner] Mark Cuban says, 'We're never trading Dirk,' or when they say, 'We're never trading Tim,' or 'We're going to re-sign Kobe.' Nothing's really being said about me; I'm in trade rumors. So that part, you think about it, kind of hurts.

"But then, after so long, you have to understand that this is a business, and it's not like that for everybody."

Pierce sold KG on move to Nets

July, 18, 2013
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NEW YORK -- Paul Pierce felt like the writing was on the wall. The Boston Celtics were headed in a different direction, particularly after the departure of coach Doc Rivers, and Pierce had resigned himself to the fact that he would likely be traded from the only NBA team he’d ever known.

AP Photo/Mary AltafferKevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry hold up their new jerseys in Brooklyn.
He heard the rumors about being waived by the Celtics and following Rivers to Los Angeles. He heard whispers about a deal that could have gotten him to Chicago. But then word came that Brooklyn was interested, and they wanted Kevin Garnett to come with him.

Pierce went into recruitment mode with a chance to bring a bit of familiarity to his next NBA destination, and he knew the Nets had an honest-to-goodness chance to compete for a title if they were able to lure away Boston’s veteran core.

On Thursday, Pierce, Garnett and Jason Terry were introduced in a glitzy ceremony before a cluster of cheering season-ticket holders at the pristine Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Pierce, despite mentally preparing himself for the moment, spent much of the early portion of the ceremony looking ill at ease, uncertain how to receive the next chapter of his career.

“It's really starting to sink in, now that it is real,” Pierce said at the podium. “I'm no longer a Boston Celtic. I’m a Brooklyn Net. That’s what it is right now.”

Pierce later detailed the process by which the Nets came calling, and how he phoned Garnett in hopes of convincing him to join him in Brooklyn.

“It was a situation where [the Celtics] were going to make a move, and once the deal with the Clippers didn’t go through for [Garnett], it was like, the Celtics were trading me, Doc was leaving, so what was left for Kevin?” explained Pierce. “I talked to [new Nets coach] Jason Kidd, and he was warming me to the fact of coming to Brooklyn, then he started warming me to the fact that they were trying to get Kevin, too.

“That’s when I called Kevin and asked him what he thought about coming to Brooklyn, he immediately said, ‘Well, what pieces are they going to give up? Who is going to be left? Is it going to be possible for us to win a championship?’ He was excited when I talked to him after warming him up, just to have the opportunity to come and win a championship and be alongside a young prospect like Brook Lopez, who he can try to take to the next level. And once I warmed him up to that, he was all in for it.”

The Nets ultimately traded Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks and Kris Joseph to Boston, along with three first-round draft picks, in exchange for Pierce, Garnett, Terry, and DJ White. The Nets maintained All-Star-caliber talent in Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez to pair with the Boston veterans.

Garnett, famous for his resistance to change, still had to be convinced of the switch.

“It was one long, long phone call,” Pierce said with a laugh. “Probably like an hour-and-a-half, two hours. I just remember I was standing outside and it was 100 degrees, and I just remember after the phone call I was dripping sweat.

(Read full post)

No decisions on KG, Pierce

June, 25, 2013
6/25/13
10:15
PM ET
WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said Tuesday that no decisions have been made about the futures of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.

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While acknowledging a rebuilding process looms -- and it might have contributed to coach Doc Rivers roaming west and signing on as the next head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers -- Ainge said he wasn’t sure if this summer would usher in a full-blown roster overhaul for Boston.

“I’m anxious to go through the [rebuilding] process,” Ainge admitted. “We don’t know when that’s going to happen, if that’s going to happen this summer or if that’s going to happen next summer. We’ve been ready, we’ve been gearing up for that possibility.

After allowing Rivers out of the final three years of his contract to pursue the Clippers coaching vacancy, the assumption has been that Boston might be as tempted as ever to turn over its roster. It’s likely that decision ultimately hinges on what the Celtics can fetch for their aging stars this summer.

“I love Paul and KG and we haven’t made that decision yet,” Ainge said when asked if he wanted to bring both players back. “KG’s under contract, and Paul we have an option on in five days from now, and those are very big decisions for us. But those decisions, I’m not certain about either one of those.”

Initial trade discussions with the Clippers included a potential secondary swap that would have sent Garnett to Los Angeles in exchange for DeAndre Jordan. The league shot the idea down, noting its connection to Rivers’ hiring in L.A. made it look as if the teams were circumventing the collective bargaining agreement, which states that no trade can be contingent upon another exchange between teams.

Sources confirmed to ESPN that the league has told the teams that they cannot make any subsequent trades until after the 2013-14 season because of the Rivers’ deal, essentially squashing any chance Garnett ends up in L.A. (at least not without being waived).

The Celtics would have to find another destination for the 37-year-old Garnett, who also owns a no-trade clause.

Boston is on the hook for only $5 million next season if Pierce is waived before June 30. But sources indicated the team is willing to stomach the entire $15.3 million due in the final year of his deal while exploring trade options with the goal of acquiring a first-round pick. Those sources also noted that the Cavaliers and Bucks were among the interested suitors for Pierce, but the Celtics were willing to work with their captain to get him to a contender if they did part ways.

Ainge noted the futures of Pierce and Garnett are not tied to each other, nor the departure of Rivers.

“From my perspective, none of the decisions have anything to do with the other,” Ainge said.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Jeff Green
PTS AST STL MIN
16.9 1.7 0.7 34.2
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Sullinger 8.1
AssistsR. Rondo 9.8
StealsR. Rondo 1.3
BlocksB. Bass 0.9