The Celtics sent Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov and GM Billy King a gift-wrapped invitation to the Eastern Conference elite by dealing Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn. Before the mammoth trade went down, though, Doc Rivers was trying to get his two former players to join him with the Clippers.
Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe spoke with the new Clippers head coach to ask him about how his former players will do with the Nets and rookie head coach Jason Kidd. Pierce turns 36 in October and Garnett turned 37 in May, so many are wondering how much they have left for a possible Nets title run.
On whether he's given any thought to his Clippers playing the Nets:
"I hadn't thought about the Brooklyn part of it. That's the first time I've been asked that question. I don't know, that's going to be strange. I get very emotional whenever I talk about Kevin and Paul. To see them somewhere else, our business sometimes it's tough. I leave (Boston) and people get upset at me and I don't think there's a lot of difference in their case but it was obvious the Celtics decided to move on.
"So Paul and Kevin had to go and that's a tough part of the business. But that will be strange for me, I want them to do well. For a lot of reasons I want them to do well, they could knock off Miami. But it will be interesting. It will be a while different feeling."
On what sort of role Garnett and Pierce will play for the Nets next season:
"I think obviously Paul's younger and in tune to play more minutes than Kevin. But I think they're still at the top of their games. I think Paul is still one of those guys who can go off for big nights and still have big scoring nights. Kevin is a culture change. He won't play but 20 to 25 minutes a night and there'll probably be nights when he doesn't play but his presence there alone will absolutely change the culture of Brooklyn. There's no doubt about it. I think for some of the young guys, even some of the veteran stars, Joe Johnson and Deron Williams, will learn and understand what a winner is and looks like and professionalism and being prepared.
"That's what I was most impressed with Kevin, how every game he prepared himself for games. That's what I told our young guys that I just wanted them to watch him prepare for games. It was why he was so consistent. I thought it was that important."
On how rookie coach Jason Kidd will dole out minutes for Garnett and how assistant coach, Lawrence Frank, will help:
"I think Jason [Kidd] will be fantastic in that because he probably when through that a little bit himself last year He'll be able to relate to that 100 percent. I think Lawrence Frank will be so important for Jason as well. You think about Lawrence, he worked with (the Celtics) staff, so he's worked with Kevin and he's knows Kevin as well as anybody. So I think that combination will be great for Kevin."