NEW YORK – Feeling he was close to a deal for Paul Pierce, a thought crossed Brooklyn General Manager Billy King’s mind.
“I asked, ‘What about KG?’ ” King said.
Yes, Brooklyn also got Kevin Garnett, and a real shot at contending for a championship.
“I would say ending today it’s a good day for the organization,” King said Friday.
And it’s the close of a championship chapter in the Celtics’ storied history. Boston’s blockbuster breakup is complete. Pierce and Garnett are Brooklyn-bound, and it’s the Nets who are thinking big as they head into their second season in their new home.
“Today, the basketball gods smiled on the Nets,” said the team owner, Mikhail Prokhorov, 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.”
It’s a nine-player, three-draft-pick swap agreed to on draft night and centered on the two aging champions who won a title in Boston in 2008. Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge eventually agreed to put Garnett in the deal, and Garnett waved his no-trade clause after some lobbying from new Nets Coach Jason Kidd and point guard Deron Williams.
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 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 Thursday.
LAKERS: Los Angeles signed free-agent center Chris Kaman after Dwight Howard’s departure for Houston.
Kaman averaged 10.5 points and 5.6 rebounds while starting 52 of 66 games for Dallas last season. He averaged a career-low 20.7 minutes.
HEAT: The team president, Pat Riley, said Miami doesn’t 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.
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 in line to pay more than $30 million in tax for the coming season.
THUNDER: Oklahoma City signed its first-round picks, center Steven Adams and guard-forward Andre Roberson.
WARRIORS: Golden State confirmed the deal struck earlier this week with free agent Marreese Speights.
TIMBERWOLVES: Minnesota finalized contracts with three small forwards: Chase Budinger, Corey Brewer and rookie Shabazz Muhammad.
HAWKS: Atlanta re-signed guard Kyle Korver, allowing the team to keep one of the league’s top 3-point shooters.
MAVERICKS: Rookie guard Shane Larkin broke his ankle and likely will be sidelined until training camp.