Former Celtics star Paul Pierce said that he, Kevin Garnett, and Doc Rivers never wanted to be part of a rebuilding team and that the Celtics owners decided after the season that rebuilding the team was exactly what was needed.
Pierce made the remarks to Slam Magazine in an interview that was published online Thursday.
Therefore, their departures — Pierce and Garnett were shipped to Brooklyn in a blockbuster swap and Rivers left to join the Los Angeles Clippers — were all mutual, Pierce said.
“Well, I know the insides with everything that’s going on,” Pierce told Slam.
“A lot of stuff got blown out of proportion because of the media, but Doc has always said he didn’t want to be a part of a rebuilding situation. I’ve always stated that the past four or five years.
‘Everything was mutual at the end. The trade, Doc leaving.’
“After the season, the owners decided they wanted to go in that direction. It made Doc look like he was quitting but at the same time it was mutual — everything was mutual at the end. The trade, Doc leaving.
“I didn’t want to be a part of rebuilding; Kevin didn’t want to be a part of rebuilding; Doc didn’t want to be part of rebuilding. I think it was all mutual.”
The Celtics also did their part in sending the three to teams in good positions, Pierce said.
“We’ve done so much for the franchise that they wanted to help on our end,” he said, “So Doc went to LA, and they sent us to Brooklyn for a chance to win a championship.
“That’s pretty much the way it was. Nothing more, nothing less.”
Pierce, the second-leading scorer in franchise history, also talked about returning to TD Garden. The Nets’ first regular-season appearance will be Jan. 26; they are in for an exhibition game Oct. 23.
“Oh, it’s definitely gonna be emotional,” Pierce said. “You spend almost half of your life in Boston, so a lot of emotions are gonna run deep, because of friends and the things you accomplished there. The fans there, the season tickets owners — I know a lot of them. I’ll see all those people.”