The Brooklyn Nets unveiled quite possibly the biggest acquisition outside of the signing of Deron Williams since the team moved from New Jersey.
Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry were introduced to the media and fans last week at a press conference on the floor of the Barclays Center.
The Nets sent Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, Kris Joseph, Keigh Bogans and three first-round draft picks (2014, 2016 and 2018) to the Boston Celtics in exchange for the three champions and D.J. White, who the Nets recently waived.
“If you add players, you want to add players with a championship pedigree,” said Nets general manager Billy King last week.
By some regards, the Nets set a king’s ransom to the Celtics, especially the first-round draft picks, but Garnett, Pierce, and Terry, along with the recent signing Andrei Kirilenko, immediately puts the Nets in the conversation when pundits start discussing the best team in the Eastern Conference.
That conversation still basically begins and ends with back-to-back champions the Miami Heat, but the Nets join the Bulls and Pacers as contenders, noted Pierce, who notably left cross-town rivals the Knicks out of the conversation.
“We’re going to be right up there with the best of them,” said Pierce. “You have to take a look at what we’ve been able to put together.”
When pressed about the Knicks, Pierce deferred to first-year coach Jason Kidd, who played with the Knicks last year before retiring.
“We’re talking about a championship, whether it’s Miami, Chicago or Indiana,” said Kidd, “and it’s New York, too.”
Garnett began his career with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1995, before going to the Celtics in 2007. In his first year, he helped lead the team to the NBA championship. Garnett waived a no-trade clause in his contract to join his Boston teammates with the Nets.
“Having Jet [Jason Terry] and Paul her was a big issue,” he said. “No one like change, but you want to try and put yourself in a position that is comfortable.”
Garnett said with so many quality players on the Nets, including Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez, how quickly the team can learn to play together is going to dictate its success.
“The biggest question for this team is how well we gel and how quickly we gel,” said Garnett. “We got all the right ingredients. For this team to win, everybody is going to have to sacrifice their own game.”
Paul Pierce has played all 15 of his years in the NBA with the Boston Celtics. Of the three, Pierce was most contemplative about leaving the only professional franchise he has ever played for.
“It’s tough, it’s been 15 years,” said Paul Pierce. “It hasn’t really sunk in, it’s just starting to today as we sit here. But I came for the opportunity and what they are trying to do here, and that’s win a championship. It’s exciting.”
Jason Terry has played 14 seasons in the NBA with the Heat, Mavericks and Celtics. He won an NBA championship in 2011 with Dallas, where he was a teammate of Kidd.
“Those were some of the best years of my career,” said Terry. “He was the best point guard to ever play the game, and even when he was playing he was still coaching. This transition for him is going to be very smooth.”