HoopsHype Kevin Garnett rumors

January 28, 2014 Updates

Walker, on the other hand, is trying to find work in the NBA at age 37, having run into financial hardship. He averaged at least 20 points in five of his seven seasons in Boston and reached three All-Star Games. He watched Sunday’s Celtics-Nets game, in which Pierce and Kevin Garnett were saluted in their return, from his home in Chicago, without a tinge of bitterness but definitely with some what-ifs. “I knew it was going to be difficult for Paul and KG just because you’ve given your all, especially for Paul, a guy who’s played 15 seasons in Boston,” Walker said Monday afternoon. “The Boston fans have seen him grow from being a rookie to probably a first-ballot Hall of Famer. His number is definitely going up in the rafters. I knew it was going to be emotional for him.” Boston Globe

“I think what I did in Boston was great; I think it was good for the time,” he said. “We accomplished what we could accomplish with the personnel that we had. Me and Paul did a great job of being a high-scoring duo. I don’t think our personnel was at a championship level. I think they did a great job of adding two Hall of Famers in Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. I still feel like we were a few pieces away. “Boston was great for me as an individual. As a player, the organization treated me great. I couldn’t ask for a better organization. I consider it my second home. When I came back with Dallas, just the standing ovation that I got, it’s heartwarming knowing the people appreciate the work ethic and the things you do.” Boston Globe

Being part of the same AAU programs and close to the same age, Pierce and Walker were close during their Celtics years. Walker was there for support during Pierce’s stabbing incident, and the two took the Celtics to the Eastern Conference finals in 2002. Over the past several years, however, the bond hasn’t been as strong. “We were very close when we played [together] but as our careers took different paths we lost a little connection there,” Walker said. “Paul’s gotten married. He has kids. I was going through what I was going through in my personal life, so we lost contact. I’m still very much connected to the game and watched his career grow and progress and still a huge fan of Paul’s. He’s still one of my top players in the league. “Sometimes different directions in life, you lose contact. But the bond that we shared for the years we played together will always been special. We’ve had an opportunity over the last few years to bump into each other over the summer and it’s always the same. The love is still there. We always have the utmost respect for each other, so I’m happy for him. He will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.” Boston Globe

January 27, 2014 Updates

The greatest test, he admitted, came just after his end-of-first-quarter video when an in-house camera focused on a woman several rows behind the basket at the east end of the building. She was holding up a Pierce replica Celtics jersey, and she was crying. Pierce saw. “I did notice that,” he said, appearing to grow emotional again as he sat beside Kevin Garnett in the press conference. “I mean, uh, it was tough. It was tough for me to swallow. I was probably about five seconds from shedding (a tear). I admit to it.” Garnett then kidded him, pointing to Pierce’s face to trace the track of a tear. Pierce shook it off. “There’s no words,” he said, “that can really describe just the shower of love here.” Boston Herald

There was nothing more he could have asked for, save for one good friend. “Thought we were going to see Gino — thought Gino was going to jump up and down. I thought Gino was going to get crackin’,” Kevin Garnett said of the bearded dancer in the disco victory video he adopted like a favorite toy during his six years as a Celtic. Boston Herald

Beyond that notable absence, though, Garnett was lost in the affection of his former public, from the sea of No. 5 and No. 34 jerseys in the Garden to a wildly emotional crowd. They cheered his first basket, a dunk, and then almost in unison hesitated, realizing that they might have gone too far. But no. There was no such thing as going too far last night. Surviving the emotion was the biggest challenge, even if Garnett punctured the crowd with 17 seconds left when he stole a Rajon Rondo pass and led the slowest fast break in history to seal Brooklyn’s 85-79 win over the Celtics. Garnett let out a long exhale before trying to sum up the night. “This was over the top. The only thing that comes to mind is unbelievable,” he said. “I didn’t expect anything like that for myself. It shows the type of organization this is. I couldn’t put it into words. Paul and I were joking before the game about who was going to tear up first, and I had lumps in my throat. I tried to focus as much as I could on the game, but this was over the top. I couldn’t put that into words.” Boston Herald

Garnett then went on listing names. “It didn’t hit me until I saw (Celtics trainer) Ed Lacerte and Jeff Twiss,” he said. “I got to see all of the people who made our time here worth it — (director of security) Phil Lynch, (travel/equipment director) Johnny Joe (Connor), all those guys. The guys that people really don’t know, but make the whole thing go round. Like Paul (Pierce) said, it’s about the endless friendships through the place — the security guards, the ball boys. Everybody, man, that shows their appreciation.” Boston Herald

As he walked into the locker room, Pierce discovered a familiar face ashen and shaken, slumping on a stool in a stunned silence. Pierce walked over and asked Jamie Young: "What's wrong, man?" Yahoo! Sports

For seven years Young had worked for the Celtics as a video coordinator until he was promoted to the endless road life of an advance scout. And now in this moment of organizational euphoria, he tried to make sense of the telephone call that had come hours earlier: Without warning, his 56-year-old father died of a heart attack in the small Indiana town where he had raised Young. "I'm going to pay for his funeral," Pierce told Young. "I'm going to pay for everything." Yahoo! Sports

January 26, 2014 Updates

The Boston Celtics hosted the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday, and it was the first time Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce played in front of the Boston fans since being traded to the Brooklyn Nets in June. Garnett and Pierce, of course, led the Celtics to their last NBA championship in 2008 and are generally beloved figures among the fanbase. And the fans showed their appreciation for the two future Hall of Famers, holding up signs and treating the Nets’ player intros like they were the home team. For The Win

To recap, the Celtics traded Garnett, Pierce, Jason Terry, and D.J. White to the Nets for Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, Kris Joseph, Keith Bogans, and three first-round draft picks (2014, 2016, and 2018), as well as the right to swap first-round picks in 2017. How did the deal come together? Danny Ainge: It did come together fairly quickly. What I was excited about was that it appeared at the time to be a great situation for everybody — I think that for Paul and KG and Jason Terry and for us. It looked like it was going to be a good situation for them to be a major contender again and be vying for a championship. Their year hasn’t gone that way, but before the season started, it sure looked like it. I think it was a happy way to make a very difficult decision. Boston Globe

Kevin McHale recently said the state of the NBA under its new collective bargaining agreement kind of forces you to make a deal like this even if you would have liked Paul to retire a Celtic. Is that fair? Danny Ainge: Well, I don’t know if it forces it, but it forces it if you want to remain competitive. And it certainly gives you a jumpstart in the rebuilding process, as opposed to not doing it for sentimental reasons. I think what Kevin is saying is, nobody wants to trade away a Paul Pierce or a Kevin Garnett — and Jason Terry, for that matter. Jason Terry, he only played with us for a year, but I love that guy. He gave a lot to us and he’s just a class act — throughout his career. But that’s nothing that anybody wants to do, and is looking forward to doing. But I think that when the opportunity presented itself, it was a deal that I had to do for the franchise. Boston Globe

People say you pulled off a huge steal. What do you think when you hear that? Danny Ainge: Well, what I felt at the time was, I thought it was a really gutsy move by Brooklyn. I admired it. I thought the way KG finished last year, and Paul — both of them looked like they had a lot of basketball left in them, as the season finished last year. And so, I felt that it was a good deal for both teams. Like, I wasn’t able to put Joe Johnson and Deron Williams and Brook Lopez around Paul and KG. I wish I could have. They still would’ve been Celtics. But we weren’t in that position, to become a contender, I don’t think. I didn’t think that Paul and KG could carry us like they had for the five or six years previous. We were a team, I felt, that was destined to mediocrity as opposed to excellence with those guys. And especially with [Rajon] Rondo being out and so forth, it was going to be a long year for us with those two guys at the stage of their careers. It wouldn’t have done them justice. So, I was happy for Brooklyn. They were taking a chance. I thought it was a really good trade. I thought it was good for us and where we were as a franchise. And I thought it was really good for Jet, Paul, and KG and for [new Nets coach] Jason Kidd. I didn’t know if they’d win a championship or not, because I knew Indiana and Miami were going to be very good, and I thought Chicago was going to be very good. But I really thought it was going to be a four-horse race in the East, with those four teams. That’s what it looked like to me when the season started. Boston Globe

January 25, 2014 Updates

The Celtics are expected to run two video tributes with Garnett first (likely at the game's first timeout) then Pierce (likely after the first quarter). Celtics first-year coach Brad Stevens said he'll hurry his team in and out of the huddle at those breaks in order to appropriately acknowledge what those players meant to the organization. But no need to save a box of Kleenex for Rajon Rondo, the only holdover from that Big Three era and the guy who won a title with Pierce and Garnett. "Have you seen me tear before?" asked Rondo. Told no, he smiled and offered, "OK then." ESPN.com

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