The Brooklyn Nets held an introductory press conference on Thursday to welcome Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to New York following their monumental trade from the Boston Celtics. The quotes Pierce and Garnett laid out for the media sounded promising, but context from the press conference itself paints a slightly different story.
Pierce and Garnett, the two main pieces of the trade that sent Boston into full-rebuild mode and geared Brooklyn up for a deep run in next year's playoffs, sounded optimistic with their quotes when transcribed by the team's official account.
The media watching things unfold was able to paint with a bit broader brush, however -- and made it sound like Pierce wasn't exactly embracing the fact that he's not going to be playing his home games in Boston next season.
You can tell this is tough for Pierce. Trying to look excited, but it's like a job transfer he didn't want. Very understandable.— Brian Mahoney (@briancmahoney) July 18, 2013
Pierce: "It's finally starting to become real. I'm no longer a Boston Celtic, I'm a Brooklyn Net." /crowd cheers /Pierce does not look happy— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) July 18, 2013
Paul Pierce looks like he's going to cry. Doesn't look to me like a guy who wants to be in Brooklyn.— Jason Lloyd (@JasonLloydABJ) July 18, 2013
Pierce: "We have no choice but to figure this out and make this work." GET EXCITED.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) July 18, 2013
To be honest, though, it makes sense that Pierce has mixed emotions now that the trade is official. The veteran wing was drafted by Boston with the 10th pick in the 1998 NBA Draft and hadn't donned another team's jersey in the fifteen seasons since.
In that light, it probably would've been disconcerting if he wasn't a bit melancholy Thursday as he was force-fed the fact that he's no longer the captain of the team he'd experienced all of the ups and downs with since he entered the league at the age of 21.
There's little doubt that Pierce and Garnett are true professionals and that they'll show up, play hard and compete for Brooklyn this year as Thursday's less-than-ecstatic reactions turn into the realization that basketball is a business -- their business.
And, as KG noted, Thursday's press conference was "a mirror image of what we saw in Boston when we arrived there ..." and, even after the solid start to his career in Minnesota, he became a pillar of the Boston basketball scene. Would it be such a surprise to see that happen again, this time in Brooklyn, with him and Pierce?