Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce traded by Celtics to Nets


“Want to share a moving van?” Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are headed south. (Elise Amendola / AP)

Kevin Garnett waived a no-trade clause late Thursday night and the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets agreed in principle to ship Paul Pierce and Garnett to the Nets.

The deal, first reported by Yahoo, cannot become official official until July 10, when a league-wide moratorium on signings and trades is lifted after free agency begins July 1. Details of the trade remain in flux, but the Nets are expected to send multiple players and at least three first-round draft picks (2014, 2016, 2018) to Boston. Also included is the right for Boston and Brooklyn to switch places in the first round in 2017 if Brooklyn’s pick is higher. Jason Terry would be sent to the Nets as well.

Who do the Celtics get? Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Tornike Shengelia, Reggie Evans, Kris Joseph and Keith Bogans are among the Nets who’ll join Rajon Rondo as the Celtics enter a massive rebuilding phase. The team, which parted with Coach Doc Rivers in exchange for an unprotected first-round draft pick in 2015 earlier in the week, would have nine first-round picks over the next five seasons.

“I knew it was coming,” Rivers, who was named coach of the Los Angeles Clippers, said. “Danny and I had talked about that over the last three, four weeks. I knew all this was going to happen. It’s obviously sad whenever an era or time ends, and it has now. That’s the sad part.”

Something clearly had to give with two-thirds of the Big Three, but the trade is still jaw-dropping. The Celtics had a Sunday deadline for either buying out Pierce’s contract for $5 million or seeing his $15.3 million contract for next season become guaranteed. The team was not certain whether KG would retire after Rivers’s departure.

In Garnett and Pierce, the Nets get two veteran players at 37 and 35, respectively. They’re not much younger than the man who would be their new coach, Jason Kidd. The Nets get two big, albeit old, names and are loaded for next season, while the Celtics’ payoff may be down the road. With Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez joining KG and Pierce, Brooklyn is better positioned to challenge the Miami Heat in the East, Ian O’Connor of ESPN New York writes:

The Nets got older and slower in the process, but they also got a lot better, especially in a playoff context.

Postseason teams have no choice but to execute in the half court, and the new Nets are very much a half-court team. They now have multiple players who will command the referees’ respect in the closing minutes of a Game 7, not to mention the very Garnett-esque toughness and intensity they lacked in their first-round loss to the Bulls.

So make no mistake: This is a great night for the Brooklyn Nets, even if it doesn’t lead to the title Garnett and Pierce won for the Celtics, who are busy becoming a D-League team in the hope of winning banner No. 18 in a resurgent season to be named (much) later.

Assuming the aging Nets remain upright, one or two of those three first-round picks should be later first-round picks.

Gerald Wallace? Kris Humphries? Tornike Shengelia? Reggie Evans? Keith Bogans?

You trade those guys for Garnett and Pierce eight days a week, and allow Jason Terry along for the ride.

It was a stunner, though, and managed to be a bigger surprise than Anthony Bennett going No. 1 in the draft.

“If Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are tradeable,” Ainge said earlier this week, “I guess everybody is tradeable.”

He wasn’t kidding.

Follow @CindyBoren on Twitter and on Facebook.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.

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Cindy Boren · June 27, 2013