Posted Jun 28, 2013 9:38 AM
The Boston Celtics on Thursday completed the detonation of the team that won the 2008 NBA title, agreeing to send Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, along with guard Jason Terry, to the Brooklyn Nets for a collection of players and Draft picks, according to league sources.
Brooklyn will send forwards Kris Humphries and Gerald Wallace, along with guard Keith Bogans, along with first-round picks in 2014, 2016 and 2018, to Boston in exchange for the three veteran players. The Celtics made no secret of the fact that if Doc Rivers left, they would accelerate their rebuilding process, and try to deal their veteran core as soon as possible.
The deal could only be completed after Garnett agreed to waive his no-trade clause, which allowed him to veto any potential deal. He was likely to waive the no-trade clause if the NBA had allowed him to go, along with Pierce, to the Clippers along with Rivers. But the league said that the Clippers and Celtics could not combine a trade of Rivers along with players.
The Nets, who hired Jason Kidd as head coach earlier this month, are putting all their chips in for the next season or two. The 37-year-old Garnett and the 35-year-old Pierce will certainly start for Brooklyn next season, with the 35-year-old Terry likely to come off the bench as the team's sixth man. They will join holdovers Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and center Brook Lopez as the Nets try to win now for well-heeled but demanding owner Mikhail Prokhorov, who promised a Finals team within five years of taking over control of the franchise.
Pierce, second on the franchise's all-time scoring list behind John Havlicek, third in minutes played and fourth in games played, and the team's all-time leader in free throws attempted and made, had hoped to retire a Celtic, after playing 15 seasons in Boston. After looking to be moved during the team's dark days, his career was rejuvenated when Boston acquired Garnett and Ray Allen in the summer of 2007. The Celtics' new "Big Three" quickly came together and led Boston to its 16th world championship, defeating the Lakers in six games.
Boston made the Finals again in 2010, but lost a seven-game series to L.A. While the Celtics continued to make the playoffs, including the Eastern Conference finals last season, general manager Danny Ainge was concerned that his team was getting long in the tooth.
Once the Celtics and Clippers agreed last Sunday to a deal that let Rivers out of the remaining three years of his contract so that he could sign a deal with the Clippers, there was no reason to keep Boston's vets together.
Now, Boston will rebuild around guard Rajon Rondo and guard Avery Bradley, forwards Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger, along with the veterans they acquired from the Nets.
Longtime NBA reporter and columnist David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT.
You can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.
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