During the Nets introductory press conference for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, both players said they had the feeling that they would be traded when Doc Rivers was sent to the Clippers. Now, for the first time since the trade, we hear from Rivers himself about what he thinks of everything — he explained that it would be weird to face KG and Pierce in the black-and-white and said that they still have the talent to knock the Miami Heat off next year.
THE CELTICS DECIDED TO MOVE ON
“I hadn’t thought about the Brooklyn part of it,” Rivers told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe. “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.”
THEY CAN BEAT MIAMI
“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.”
STILL AT THE TOP OF THEIR GAMES
“I think obviously Paul’s younger and in tune to play more minutes than Kevin,” Rivers said. “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.”
PREPARATION IS KEY FOR KG
“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 KIDD BEING ABLE TO LIMIT KG’s MINUTES
“I think (Jason Kidd) will be fantastic in that because he probably went through that a little bit himself last year,” Rivers said. “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.”
Doc Rivers obviously coached KG and Pierce to a 2008 championship with the Celtics. He was the first piece to go this offseason when he was traded to the Clippers as the Celtics try to rebuild.