NEW YORK — The blockbuster breakup of the Celtics is complete. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are Brooklyn bound.
The Nets and Celtics finalized their draft-night trade Friday, a nine-player, three-draft pick swap centered on the two aging champions who won a title in Boston in 2008.
And with a championship chapter in the Celtics’ storied history closed, it’s the Nets who are thinking big as they head into their second season in Brooklyn.
“Today, the basketball gods smiled on the Nets,” Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov said in a statement. “With the arrival of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, we have achieved a great balance on our roster between veteran stars and young talents. This team will be dazzling to watch, and tough to compete against.”
The Nets also got Jason Terry and D.J. White from Boston while sending Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, Kris Joseph, Keith Bogans and first-round draft picks in 2014, 2016 and 2018 to the rebuilding Celtics. Boston also gets the right to swap first-round picks in 2017.
The teams agreed to the deal on June 27 but it couldn’t be completed until after next season’s salary cap was set. The Nets plan to introduce their new stars next Thursday at Barclays Center.
Boston won five straight division titles from 2008-12 before falling back last season, the first following Ray Allen’s departure to Miami. Then the Celtics let Doc Rivers out of his contract after the season by acquiring a first-round pick from the Los Angeles Clippers, and this trade signals a new phase for the team that has won an NBA-high 17 championships and got used to being in the hunt again after Garnett arrived in 2007.
”Paul and Kevin exemplified everything it means to be a Celtic,” Celtics managing partner and CEO Wyc Grousbeck said. “They were instrumental in bringing back Celtic Pride and providing our fans with the franchise’s first championship in over 20 years in 2008. We wish them nothing but the best in the future.”
MIAMI — For now, the prospects of paying a big luxury-tax bill next year is not enough to dissuade the Miami Heat from its plan to keep the its current championship core intact.
Heat President Pat Riley said Friday that the team does not currently plan to use its one-time amnesty option as a way of lightening its looming tax load, with the team’s focus instead being on simply finding ways to get better.
“Right now, we’re not using amnesty, no,” Riley said.
Amnesty would allow the Heat to essentially cut one player and pay whatever is left on his contract, but without that salary counting against the team’s cap space or add to future luxury-tax bills. Miami is currently in line to pay more than $30 million in tax for the coming season, though could shave off at least one-quarter of that by parting with someone like Joel Anthony or Mike Miller.
In a conference call Friday, Riley made clear that the team’s plan is to add and not subtract, especially coming off two straight NBA championships.
As of now, all players from Miami’s rotation this past season are expected back. Ray Allen exercised his player option to return, and Chris Andersen signed a one-year deal to stay in Miami, a move that Riley said was huge.
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — The Cavaliers welcomed their two newest players and continued to work on signing their biggest free-agent acquisition.
Guard Jarrett Jack and forward Earl Clark signed their contracts Friday with the Cavs, who also have an agreement with center Andrew Bynum. The sides are still finalizing Bynum’s contract, so general manager Chris Grant was unable to talk about the 7-foot center.
Bynum was traded to Philadelphia last summer but never played because of knee injuries.
Jack, who signed a four-year, $25 million deal, said Bynum “when healthy, he’s one of the best, if not the best big men in the game.”