It initially looked like it would be a glamorous event, but in the end came across as a sombre one as Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry were unveiled at a press conference at the Barclays Center.
At the event, Paul Pierce certainly seemed to be the one having the hardest time dealing with his new surroundings. As a player who thought he would be ending his career in Boston, he later admitted in an interview with SportsCenter that being involved in many trade rumors throughout last season hurt him.
When he spoke of making the deal with Brooklyn, he talked about how he made sure that Kevin Garnett was going to be involved in the deal.
“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?” Pierce explained. “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.”
Kevin Garnett may have been hesitant towards the idea of making a change and moving to Brooklyn, but he admitted that he thought the writing was on the wall for his particular Celtics team.
"I don’t like change much. When I commit to something, I like to go all-out," Garnett said. " It’s unfortunate. Obviously, when I saw the Doc Rivers situation I knew that the writing was on the wall even before then. It was tough leaving Rondo and other things, but this is a new chapter with new things to embrace, and that’s what I’m doing.”
In the deal that saw Garnett, Pierce, Terry, and DJ White move to Brooklyn, the Celtics acquired Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks, Kris Joseph, three first-round draft picks, and a $10.3 million trade exception.
Despite Pierce's disappointment in not being able to bring his career to a close in Boston, he said that he still had respect for Danny Ainge, and that if he was the C's GM he would have made the same decision.
“I thought the writing was on the wall,” said Pierce. “You saw Doc was leaving, [Rajon] Rondo was hurt, probably not going to be back until probably December, January, who knows? ... If I was a GM and I looked at the situation, and one day I probably plan on being a GM if that’s possible, I probably would have made the same decision. There’s some sentimental things that go along with me and Danny being together for so long, [but] at the end of the day, he works for the Boston Celtics; he doesn’t work for Paul Pierce. He works for a franchise that’s going to be around a lot longer than me, and he has to make the best decisions that he can for that franchise. And, if I was in his position, I think moving forward, I would have done the same thing.”
Kevin Garnett however had a much bigger choice to make. When he was asked if he considered retiring when it became clear that his time in Boston was coming to an end, he replied, “absolutely.”
"Because of Paul’s situation with the Celtics, and Paul is a huge part of playing together and accomplishing things, which makes this whole thing kind of bittersweet,” Garnett said. “I’m leaving one chapter and opening another, and I’m able to do it with guys that I’ve known for a long time."
When questioned on how much he had left in him, Garnett refused to comment. What was apparent though was that both Pierce and KG are relieved more than anything that they have been able to remain teammates, even though the greatest part of their careers have come to end. In Brooklyn though they will both have a chance at claiming one more ring before they retire.