While all the reports were out on how everything came about and what pieces were needed to successfully get a blockbuster deal done between the Nets and the Boston Celtics, there was never an opportunity to hear how the trio coming from Boston really felt about what went down.
As it turns out, Pierce was instrumental in convincing his friend Garnett that heading over to Brooklyn would be their best bet at a chance to win another ring, from Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston:
“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.”
“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.
“I was like, ‘Do you understand what’s going on in Boston? [A potential trade to the] Clippers thing appears to be dead. So what do you think, big fella? I know you don’t want to retire. I know you don’t want to retire. You have too much in the tank, you love the game too much. Sometimes you just have to tell Kevin to sit back and think about it. He reacts to everything. Like his initial reaction to everything is, ‘No.’ [You say,] ‘Kevin I got a $100 million,’ [And he replies,] ‘No.’ Then he has to sit back and think about it and then once he warms up to it, he makes his decision, and that’s about anything.
“I knew his initial reaction was going to be against it, but I knew this was going to be a long conversation, too.”
While it had to be tough on Pierce to leave the only team he had ever played for, he’s clearly levelheaded and fully understands the business aspect of being an NBA player. And yes, there was no better move for him than joining the already respectable Nets – and bringing along the best player on the Celtics along with him – to give him the best chance to dethrone LeBron James once again. There was some talk and joking about the rivalry between the Nets and the “other” New York team during the press conference, but lets face it: the New York Knicks – at least on paper – are well behind the Nets in terms of talent and depth at this point.
As for Garnett, his decision to waive the no-trade clause to join the Nets certainly beats the other option he strongly considered over the summer, from A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE:
Kevin Garnett says that retirement was “absolutely” an option that he gave serious thought to this summer.
— A. Sherrod Blakely (@SherrodbCSN) July 18, 2013
Also of note from Thursday: The NBA Board of Governors have approved several rule changes for next season. Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated has details:
The full changes are as follows. Instant replay may now be used:
When reviewing a block/charge play to determine whether the defender was inside or outside the restricted area, officials will now be permitted to reverse a charge call, or uphold a blocking call, when the defender was outside the restricted area but was not set when the offensive player began his upward shooting motion.
To determine whether an off-ball foul occurred before or after a player has started his shooting motion on a successful shot attempt, or before or after the ball was released on a throw-in.
During the review of any instant replay situation to permit the officials to assess the appropriate penalties of any unsportsmanlike and unnecessary acts (e.g. flagrant fouls) that are observed during the instant replay reviews.
Additional rules modifications:
On clear path to the basket fouls, it will no longer be considered a clear path foul if at any point before the foul is committed, the defender who commits the foul is positioned ahead of the offensive player in the frontcourt.
A team on offense will lose possession if its player leaves the floor and does not immediately return to the floor, unless he is injured, attempting to save the ball or in other extenuating circumstances.
Onto other news from around the league:
- Jim Buss made a bold prediction about the return of Kobe Bryant, from Ben Bolch of Los Angeles Times: “Jim Buss’ most interesting wager of the week was placed off the Las Vegas Strip. The Lakers vice president told NBA TV on Thursday that Kobe Bryant might be even futher ahead of schedule in his return from a torn Achilles’ tendon than the superstar himself indicated last week. “I would bet a lot of money on him coming back in preseason,” Buss said during the broadcast of the Lakers’ Las Vegas Summer League game against the Milwaukee Bucks at the Thomas & Mack Center. “He’s going to come back when he is right. I see him coming back at the beginning of this season.” Bryant, who suffered the injury in April, said last week that he expected to become more active with conditioning in August.”