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Kevin Garnett: Trade to Brooklyn Nets ‘forced on us a little bit’

Paul Pierce Kevin GarnettKevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry were traded to the Brooklyn Nets in June as part of a surprising multi-player deal. The three players are expected to solidify an already strong roster and potentially lead Brooklyn to a title run. The trade was jarring because not many expected to see happen Pierce and KG dealt in the final years of their career.

Garnett, 37, was considering retirement this offseason and, Pierce, 35, wanted to play the rest of his career for the Boston Celtics. But things didn’t work out that way. The Celtics decided to officially break up the team that won them an NBA championship in 2008, which didn’t give the players the chance to have the ending they wanted.

“For six years I embraced the same thing [as Pierce] did,” Garnett said of his relationship with the Celtics in an interview with ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan. “Obviously not to his magnitude, but it was enough to where we made our stamp and this is where we are and where we’re going to be.

“And then what that changed, it’s almost like you have to deal with it,” Garnett told MacMullan, reflecting on the trade. “It’s not time to be emotional, it’s not time to be reflective. Now you have to make a decision on what’s best for you going forward. And that was the most difficult out of all of this.

“That things were pushed on us, forced on us a little bit … you didn’t see the fairy tale ending.”

Pierce expressed a similar feeling about the trade. He admitted to MacMullan that he didn’t feel like he had the full organizational support the way other franchise players around the league did, and it hurt him.

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Boston Celtics take out full-page ad thanking Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett

Celtics-thank-Paul-Pierce-Kevin-Garnett

When Paul Pierce retires from the NBA, his No. 34 Boston Celtics jersey will be hanging in the rafters at TD Garden. Kevin Garnett’s No. 5 could very well be right next to it. Pierce spent the first 15 seasons of his NBA career in Boston and is one of the most beloved players in team history. Garnett helped the Celtics win their 17th championship the first season he began bleeding green.

The Celtics have begun their inevitable rebuilding project, which started with Pierce and Garnett being shipped to the Brooklyn Nets. On Friday, the team took out a full-page ad in the Boston Globe thanking its future Hall of Famers.

Expect a deafening ovation for Pierce and Garnett when they return to Boston as visitors next season. They deserve every second of it.

Photo via Twitter/Dave Cutler

Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce traded to Brooklyn Nets for Kris Humphries, others

Paul Pierce Kevin GarnettThe Boston Celtics have officially blown things up. Earlier this week, they released head coach Doc Rivers from his contract and allowed him to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for a first-round draft pick. On Thursday, Boston agreed to a deal that will send Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets.

Now, Boston is officially rebuilding. The Big Three Danny Ainge assembled in 2007 of Pierce, Garnett and Ray Allen is all gone. The team was assembled to win a title, and it did just that. The Celtics will reportedly receive three first-round picks from the Nets in addition to Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, Kris Joseph, MarShon Brooks and Keith Bogans.

In making a deal with Brooklyn, the Celtics were thinking very long term. None of the players they received will make any type of significant impact, but the NBA requires salaries to be equal in any trade. The trade was more about the draft picks, with Boston receiving a first-rounder in 2014, 2016 and 2018. By possibly 2016 or certainly 2018, Pierce, Garnett and Terry will have all retired. The hope for Boston is that it gets an early draft pick out of the deal at some point in the future — even if it’s the very distant future.

While many Celtics fans are outraged that Pierce will not be retiring in a green uniform, Ainge had little choice. Paying Pierce and Garnett the type of money they deserve was simply out of the question. Now, you have to wonder if Rajon Rondo will be the next superstar leaving town. We’ll get into that a bit more later.

Doc Rivers trade complicates Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce going to Clippers

Paul Pierce Kevin GarnettDoc Rivers was officially traded from the Boston Celtics to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for an unprotected first-round pick in 2015. When the trade between the teams was first discussed, it was believed that Kevin Garnett would be a part of the deal. However, the NBA nixed that, saying that the league’s collective bargaining agreement prevents a coach from being traded for players (they can only be traded for cash and/or draft picks). David Stern also said he would block potential trades of Garnett to the Clippers because trades are not allowed to be contingent upon other moves.

Though the NBA approved the trade of Rivers to the Clippers, they are making it difficult for Garnett, and possibly Paul Pierce, to go to the Clippers.

According to CBS Sports’ Ken Berger, part of the compensation deal for Rivers states that the Clippers and Celtics cannot trade players until the end of the 2013-2014 season. Celtics GM Danny Ainge said in his press conference Tuesday that he believes the NBA mandated that part of the deal.

ESPN’s Marc Stein does say there may be a possibility for Garnett and Pierce to end up with the Clippers despite the league preventing trades between the sides. Stein says KG and Pierce could join the Clippers if they are bought out by the Celtics and choose to sign with the Clips as free agents.

The Celtics hold an option Pierce for at $15.3 million next season, and they could decide to buy him out for $5 million.

“I love Paul and KG. And we haven’t made that decision yet,” Ainge said Tuesday. “I’m not certain of either one of those decisions.”

Garnett is set to earn $12.4 million next season from the Celtics.

The Clippers may have gotten their coach, but the likelihood of them getting the Celtics’ other top players may not be strong at this point.

Kevin Garnett, Paul Piece, Doc Rivers all reportedly interested in Los Angeles Clippers

Paul-Pierce-Doc-Rivers-Kevin-GarnettThere has been a lot of talk over the last week or so about whether or not Doc Rivers wants to remain with the Boston Celtics. Ray Allen has moved on and Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce have very little left in the tank. The championship window has closed, and Rivers is not interested in taking on a full-blown rebuilding project. Now, rumors are swirling that Pierce, Garnett and Rivers could all leave town together.

According to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, there is a “rising belief” around the NBA that Rivers, Pierce and Garnett would all like to move to the Los Angeles Clippers together if the Celtics aren’t in a position to contend for a title next season. While it was initially assumed that any trade like that would involve Blake Griffin, Stein said it would be possible for the Clippers to land all three without giving up Griffin. They would have to send cash and draft considerations for Rivers.

Rivers has established an extremely close relationship with Pierce over the last decade and Garnett since the Big Three first came together in 2007. Both players have hinted in the past that they would never play for anyone but Doc, and a scenario like the one Stein laid out could keep them all together while still giving them a shot at another ring.

Of course, money would be an issue for both teams. Pierce’s $15 million contract with the Celtics for next year is not fully guaranteed, but Boston would have to pay him $5 million if they released him. There has been a lot of talk about Garnett retiring, but I’m sure he could be persuaded to play alongside Pierce, Griffin and Chris Paul while keeping his favorite coach. Some restructuring of deals would have to take place and the Clippers would have to compensate the Celtics quite handsomely, but it’s not totally out of the question.

Kevin Garnett: Paul Pierce will be a factor in my decision

Paul Pierce Kevin GarnettThe future of the Boston Celtics will be one of the more interesting storylines of the NBA offseason. The team already broke up the Big Three core that helped the franchise win the NBA title in 2007-2008 when they let Ray Allen leave for the Miami Heat in free agency last year. They filled that spot by adding Jason Terry, but the season was derailed by Rajon Rondo’s knee injury. After losing in the first round of the playoffs to the New York Knicks, it looks like Boston’s days as a championship contender are over. GM Danny Ainge now faces the difficult decision about what to do with Paul Pierce.

Pierce is owed $15.3 million next season, but the team can buy him out for $5 million. He said after the Celtics were eliminated from the playoffs on Friday night that he expects to continue playing next season, but he recognizes that the decision about whether or not he’ll be back with Boston is up to Ainge. What happens to Pierce may impact what happens with Kevin Garnett.

Garnett is still under contract with the team for the next two seasons. After the team was eliminated in the playoffs on Friday, he talked about what they needs to do for next season.

“I think we need some additions. Health hit us pretty hard this year, and I’m sure they’re going to address that,” Garnett said, via WEEI’s Ben Rohrbach.

Garnett also said his relationship with Pierce will be a factor in his decision.

“One of the big reasons I came here was because of Paul. Obviously, you want to be in a situation where it’s better. I want to make sure that I’m always able to help a team and be in positions where I’m giving something. I demand a lot from myself, both physically and from a skill level. But I’d be lying to y’all if I said Paul didn’t play into that factor. It’s too soon of a conversation for me right now.”

Garnett is turning 37 and already the highest career earner in the NBA. If the Celtics decide to break up the roster and get rid of Pierce, he might not want to return.

It’s just my personal guess that Ainge will let Pierce go knowing that the Truth is not worth $15.3 million. I don’t know if that will influence Garnett to retire, but I do believe the Celtics’ roster will look a lot different next season.

Below are videos of Pierce and Garnett’s final news conferences:

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Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce leave court without shaking hands (Video)

Kevin Garnett Paul PierceKevin Garnett stayed true to his competitive form to the very end. After the Boston Celtics lost to the New York Knicks 88-80 in a series-ending Game 6 at TD Garden on Friday, Garnett walked off the court without appearing to shake hands with his opponents. Teammates Paul Pierce and Jason Terry were right in front of him as they walked off the court and into the locker room.

Exiting the playoffs without congratulating his opponents on the court is a postseason tradition for KG. He and Rajon Rondo did it last year after Boston lost to the Miami Heat in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals. Neither player would apologize for not being sportsmanlike, and Rondo even said he wished the team had more “sore losers.” Though Rondo wasn’t around because he is rehabbing his knee injury, Boston did have more sore losers this time to join Garnett.

There actually is a lot more going on here than a matter of sportsmanship; there is a lot of bad blood between the teams. In January, Garnett and Carmelo Anthony got into it during and after a game. Then the Knicks angered the Celtics by wearing all black to Game 4 for the “funeral” of the Celtics.

Garnett is signed for two more seasons while Pierce has a $15.3 million team option. Boston could buy out Pierce for $5 million. Garnett, who is turning 37 on May 19, hinted in February that he would be retiring after the season. Pierce has indicated that he does not want to play for any other team. This may finally be the year both players call it a career.

If Garnett’s last actions on an NBA court were walking off without congratulating his opponent, it would be very befitting of his competitive personality.