As if this week couldn’t get any worse, the book closed on the Paul Pierce Era in the history of the Boston Celtics when the Celtics and Brooklyn Nets agreed in principle (the trade can’t be finalized until July 10 per NBA rules) on a trade that would send Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry to Brooklyn in exchange for Kim Kardashian’s ex-husband, a bunch of players I’ve never heard of, and Brooklyn’s 1st round draft picks in 2014, 2016, and 2018. Ultimately, this is a good deal for the Celtics, who need more draft picks to improve their roster and ran the risk of being sentimental and letting The Truth and The Big Ticket retire without getting anything in return. It’s not the Celtics’ job to be sentimental (although they are as an organization, as evidenced by their bajillion retired numbers, but that’s another blog post for another day), but as fans it’s still sad even if it was the right thing to do.
Paul Pierce has been playing for the Celtics since I was in 3rd Grade. He was a key piece in the organization through good times and bad times. Grew up a Lakers fan in Inglewood, but went on to be one of the greatest players ever to wear Celtic Green. He stuck with Boston even after getting stabbed. People across the country found out how great he really was after he started playing with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, but Celtics fans knew what he was long before that. He was a good scorer, and underrated defender, and he was never afraid to take the big shot at the end of a game.
Garnett was the guy who changed the culture in Boston back to a winning one. He was drafted by legendary Celtic Kevin McHale, and the two of them are both top five power forwards in the history of the NBA as well as top fifteen (at least) Celtics of all time. McHale, who was the general manager of the Minnesota Timberwolves, traded KG to his former teammate Danny Ainge in Boston, and along with the acquisition of Ray Allen that same summer, the New Big Three Era in Boston began. Pierce, Allen, and Garnett won the NBA title their first year together in 2008, and they should have won a second, but it never happened due to age and injury. Ever since the Celtics lost Game 7 against the Los Angeles Lakers in 2010, fans knew it would only be a matter of time before this day came.
Pierce and Garnett will be joining a Brooklyn team coached by their contemporary and former rival Jason Kidd, who most recently met them in the playoffs this past April as the impossibly old yet surprisingly effective point guard for the New York Knicks. They are joining a talented roster in Brooklyn and have a chance to compete with Miami yet again, but no matter what they do, they will always be Celtics. Garnett said himself that he bleeds green, and they are most definitely the last Celtics ever to wear the numbers 34 and 5. They were such selfless superstars that it’s fitting that their last act as Boston Celtics was getting traded to put the team in a better position to be a contender sooner. Thank, guys! We’ll miss you, but best of luck in Brooklyn. I’ll play you guys out.