|Danny Ainge: Nets wanted ‘Dream Team’ at ‘any cost’||07.15.13 at 5:10 pm ET|
That’s why, according to the Celtics president of basketball operations, he pulled the trigger earlier this month on a deal that sends the two stars to Brooklyn for Gerald Wallace, MarShon Brooks, Keith Bogans and Kris Humphries.
“Brooklyn showed a great deal of interest in putting the ‘Dream Team’ together, with expense not [a factor], at any cost it seemed like,” Ainge told reporters at an introductory press conference Monday. “And the opportunity to acquire a lot of young assets and get younger and move onto a different phase presented itself. We felt like, where we were as a team, it was going to be very difficult to be a championship contender [had] we kept Paul and KG.
“The opportunity presented itself. It’s a situation we needed to do. It’s a situation that Brooklyn should do and could do, adding Paul and KG to a roster with already three All-Star type players. It’s a pretty special opportunity for them, even though it’s very expensive.”
“You don’t really want to trade to a division rival but no, there were no other teams that were even close,” Ainge admitted. “As a matter of fact, it was interesting that the offers we got for Paul and KG were greater than we got for them in years past. It was an opportunity we felt we had to jump at.”
Was it hard for Ainge to pull the trigger in the end?
“Absolutely,” Ainge said when asked. “I think it pretty much goes without saying, and there’ll be many opportunities to talk about their legacies, and I know this is not my decision alone to make, but if it were my decision alone, their numbers will be hanging from the rafters some day. Their legacy has been made here in Boston. They still have basketball left in them but at the same time, we’re going to want to beat them. But those guys were great for the city of Boston, great for the Boston Celtics franchise and great for all of us who were associated with them.
“But this is a good deal for us. We’re excited about the players we’re getting and we’re excited about the opportunity for us to start fresh and start over, not completely over because we have a lot of good players returning and a lot of good players acquired in teh trade but start over in terms of a new coaching staff, new players and a new identity.”
A fifth player the Celtics received in the deal – Kris Joseph – was waived on Monday.
|Celtics announce Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett trade||07.12.13 at 3:03 pm ET|
The only surprise is forward D.J. White‘s inclusion in the deal that will send Pierce, Garnett and Jason Terry to Brooklyn. White signed a $1.03 million non-guaranteed deal for 2013-14.
Meanwhile, Kris Humphries ($12 million) officially becomes the highest-paid Celtic, joining Gerald Wallace, Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks and Kris Joseph in Boston. More importantly, the C’s acquired Brooklyn’s first-round draft picks in 2014, 2016 and 2018 as well as the option to swap No. 1 picks with the Nets in the 2017 draft.
‘We would like to thank Paul, Kevin, and Jason for everything that they have done for this franchise,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said in a press release. “We would not have won Banner 17 without Paul and Kevin and they will go down amongst the all-time great players to have ever worn a Celtics uniform. At the same time we are excited to welcome Gerald, Kris, Keith, MarShon and Kris to the Celtics family. They bring a wealth of talent, experience, depth, and flexibility to our team.’
‘We are really excited to welcome Gerald, Kris, Keith, MarShon and Kris to the Celtics organization,’ Celtics coach Brad Stevens added in the release. ‘They collectively bring a great deal of versatility, unique skill sets and production to our roster. I cannot wait to get to work with them.’
Excited, I guess.
Believe it or not, the Nets were pretty excited themselves about landing Pierce, Garnett and Terry.
‘Today, the basketball gods smiled on the Nets,” Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov said in a separate press release. “With the arrival of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, we have achieved a great balance on our roster between veteran stars and young talents. This team will be dazzling to watch, and tough to compete against.”
‘We are excited to welcome Kevin, Paul and Jason to Brooklyn’ added Brooklyn GM Billy King. ‘All three players have championship pedigree and posses the veteran qualities that will make us a stronger team.’
|Celtics issue ‘thank you’ to Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett||at 8:28 am ET|
“To two of the greatest Celtics legends of all-time: Thank you. You will always be Celtics.”
The statement is accompanied by a photoshopped image of KG hoisting the 2008 NBA championship trophy and Pierce clutching his Finals MVP award in front of the Garden parquet and banner-filled rafters. The caption:
FOR YOUR HEART
FOR YOUR PASSION
FOR YOUR SACRIFICE
FOR PLAYING THROUGH THE PAIN
FOR BLEEDING GREEN
FOR HONORING TRADITION
FOR AN AMAZING RIDE
FOR RESTORING CELTIC PRIDE
FOR BANNER 17
Apparently, they forgot: “FOR THREE FIRST-ROUND PICKS,” since it was the team’s decision to trade them.
Yup, it’s official, folks. The trade is scheduled to be finalized on Friday, shipping Jason Terry along with the two Celtics greats to Brooklyn in exchange for Nets Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, Keith Bogans and Kris Joseph as well as Brooklyn’s first-round picks in 2014, 2016 and 2018.
If you’re a tortured fan who needs more proof Pierce and Garnett’s time in Boston is over: Check out these images of their Nets jerseys and watch Pierce tell TMZ, “Who says it’s the end of my career? I plan on playing 10 more years dude.” Also, read this retrospective on Truth and Ticket.
|Larry Bird: ‘Believe me, Danny Ainge knows what he’s doing’||07.08.13 at 6:29 pm ET|
One of the greatest Celtics in franchise history believes the team’s intensely loyal fan base should trust in Danny Ainge.
Larry Bird, speaking to reporters Monday at the Orlando summer league games, said he understands why his former teammate and current president of basketball operations of the Celtics traded heart-and-soul pieces Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett last week to the Brooklyn Nets.
“Believe me, Danny Ainge knows what he’s doing,” Bird said. “He won a championship. I never doubt Danny Ainge. Danny does a good job. You know, you do get older. You can’t beat Father Time, and I’m sure things will work out.”
Pierce will be 36 next season while Garnett will be 37 when he suits up with Brooklyn. Both, Bird said Monday can be productive with the Nets.
“I think they’ve both been pretty healthy throughout their careers,” Bird said Monday. “They haven’t had the major, major injuries that I had. I think they got plenty left. The way they will be coached and the bench that they have. Yeah — they’ll pick their spots, but when the time comes, they’ll be there.”
Bird, who serves as Ainge’s counterpart with the Pacers, acknowledged it’s disappointing to see Pierce, the second-leading scorer in Celtics franchise history, not be able to do what he did and finish his career playing only for the Celtics.
“I would have loved to see it,” Bird said. “I got a lot of respect for Paul and what he has accomplished. But who says he’s not going to play another four years? It’s a tough situation.”
Pierce, who turns 36 Oct. 13, averaged 18.6 points per game this past season and, with 24,021 points, trails only John Havlicek on Boston’s all-time scoring list.
“[Pierce] is one of the better ones to ever come through there, he really is,” Bird insisted.
ESPN/ABC basketball analyst Jeff Van Gundy joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to discuss the Celtics‘ offseason maneuverings.
The C’s pulled off a surprise move last week when they named Butler’s Brad Stevens their new coach.
“I think he’s a great, great basketball coach,” Van Gundy said. “I don’t think there will be too big an adjustment — or too big of an adjustment basketball-wise. This guy is really, really smart. I think their players will respect his confidence, his sincerity, his reliability and his trustworthiness. He’s a quality person and coach.
“Now, the difference is, you’re going to lose some, and maybe a lot, depending on the construction of the roster. That, coupled with the length of a season, is always a challenge in the NBA when you go through a rebuilding situation. But I think his demeanor and his poise, along with his contract, will serve him well through the rebuilding situation.”
Added Van Gundy: “I honestly think that this is not a risk. People say it’s a risk. I don’t think it’s a risk for anybody. When Brad Stevens is done with the Celtics in six years, 10 years, 15 years, he can always go back and get a great, great college job. And for the Celtics, it’s not a risk because this guy’s a great person and a great basketball coach. How they do record-wise over his tenure there is going to be not based on his coaching ability. His coaching ability will be fine. It’s going to be their roster. Can they get him a good enough roster to work with and win with? If they do, they’ll win there.”
Asked if he or his brother Stan were contacted about the Celtics’ opening, Van Gundy said: “I have no idea about my brother. I know I wasn’t. Hey, listen, I have such respect for the Celtics that anybody would be interested if the Celtics call. They just have a great, obviously, history, they have great ownership, they have great management. So, anybody would be interested.”
As the Celtics head into a rebuilding period, Van Gundy warned that people need to avoid becoming impatient as the long season wears on.
“There’s very few people — teams, fan bases, organizations, coaches, players — who really have the stomach for a long rebuild,” he said. “It sounds good in theory. But Boston was tiring of rebuilding until Danny Ainge pulled off the Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett trades. No one likes losing 18 straight games. This is where I thought Doc Rivers took unnecessary criticism. That he didn’t want to go through a long rebuild? He’d already done that. He’d already gone through that purgatory time in Boston. So, that he wouldn’t want to redo it again in Boston? I completely understand.
“There’s got to be a stomach for this rebuilding. And it really starts with the media, the management, the ownership. Because they’re so used to winning, that this may be a period of mediocrity. It may be that 41-40 record last year, that may be the norm. Or maybe they get a few more wins or maybe they get a few less wins, or maybe a lot less wins. You can’t just believe that in theory. You’ve got to be able to live through the dreary nights that are coming to the Boston Garden. And accept that this is part of the NBA, that you can’t stay great forever.
“I think that’s going to be the toughest adjustment for everybody. They’re coming off such a great period of winning, where they had the ultimate competitors in Garnett and [Paul] Pierce. So, to see them go, to see them go into the Eastern Conference. The whole thing is going to be difficult. And that’s where I think Brad’s demeanor will really help him. He’ll focus on trying to get better every day, incremental improvement. And if he can do that, I think he will have fulfilled his obligation to the Celtics very, very well.”
|National reaction to Celtics trade: Inevitable end of an era||06.28.13 at 2:03 pm ET|
Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett reportedly will be shipped to the Nets in exchange for three first-round picks, as well as a five-player package highlighted by 2005 Celtics first-round draft pick MarShon Brooks, Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries.
The reaction from media around the country is, well, about as one would expect. Many of them used one common phrase in particular in their pseudo-obituaries:
‘An inglorious end to a glorious era.’ — Paul Flannery, SBNation
‘[Celtics fans] were experiencing the other end of the era.’ — Ian Thomsen, Sports Illustrated
‘An era ended in Boston as the deep-pocketed Nets loaded up for next year’s run.’ — Chris Forsberg, ESPN
Indeed, the official end of the Big Three Era — a period that lasted twice as long as many expected it to — has come, and with it a new one dawning in Brooklyn.
Ian O’Connor of ESPN New York assesses the trade from the Nets’ point of view, and held nothing back about the Celtics’ rebuilding
‘So make no mistake,’ O’Connor writes. ‘This is a great night for the Brooklyn Nets, even if it doesn’t lead to the title Garnett and Pierce won for the Celtics, who are busy becoming a D-League team in the hope of winning banner No. 18 in a resurgent season to be named (much) later.
‘[Nets owner Mikhail] Prokhorov and his industrious GM, Billy King, saw an opening and pounced. The Nets got older and slower in the process, but they also got a lot better, especially in a playoff context.’
|Chris Mannix on D&C: Celtics ‘got the most they could possibly get’ for Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett||at 10:28 am ET|
NBA insider Chris Mannix checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning, and the Sports Illustrated senior writer commended Danny Ainge and the Celtics for pulling off a blockbuster trade Thursday, agreeing to send Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Nets in exchange for a package headlined by the expiring contract of Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace and three future first-round picks.
The trade stings a bit at first, sure, Mannix said, but the Celtics got great return for a pair of older players with big contracts.
‘Boston got the most they could possibly get for both these players,’ Mannix said. ‘I’m going to be honest guys, I’m not sure they could’ve gotten a better haul for them. I’m not sure there is another team out there that would have absorbed one or both of those players and given the Celtics more in return.
‘It’s a tough pill to swallow because in the short term you don’t get a whole heck of a lot in the players they get back. ‘¦ Regardless, they get immeasurably worse in the short term, but I don’t know if they could have gotten more for those players.’
Mannix said Thursday’s deal is a very, very risky one for Brooklyn. The organization has in effect given itself a one-year window to win, and it could very well ‘backfire in their faces.’
‘The Nets are throwing all of their eggs into this one season and hoping they can find a way to get the chemistry to come together and challenge for a championship,’ Mannix said. ‘Throw in the fact that I have no idea how Jason Kidd is going to be able to coach these guys. I say this half in jest, but I’m almost expecting Kidd to resign in midseason and activate himself and hand over coaching responsibilities to Lawrence Frank so he can get one more ring as a player as a backup. It’s just a bizarre situation out there.’
The Celtics, meanwhile, could flip Humphries to the Bobcats for guard Ben Gordon, a deal Mannix said Brooklyn and Charlotte may have explored earlier.
Mannix also expects the Celtics to center their rebuilding around Rajon Rondo. That fact that the team didn’t take a point guard in the first round of the Thursday’s draft when there were several available speaks volumes about the Celtics’ plans.
‘It’s a big risk, because nobody has any idea what Rondo’s reaction is to all this, how he’s going to handle being the focal point of a team that’s probably going to be really bad next year,’ Mannix said. ‘There’s no reason to believe they can’t try to build around Rondo these next couple of years and see what happens. If it turns out he’s not capable of doing it, if it turns out it’s not working out, you can always flip him at the trade deadline or at the start of the following season for something better in return.’