Josh Newman, Field ReporterORLANDO – One Celtics legend understands why the only franchise he played for decided to trade two cornerstones of one of the most successful eras in franchise history late last month.
Addressing reporters at the Orlando Summer League, Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird said he understood why Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge decided to trade away the aging duo of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett on draft night last month, but he also said the future Hall of Famers have plenty left in the tank to help the Nets.
“I think they’ve both been pretty healthy throughout their careers,” Bird said. “They haven’t had the major, major injuries that I had. I think they got plenty left. The way they will be coached and the bench that they have — yeah — they’ll pick their spots. But when the time comes, they’ll be there.”
For Bird, Celtic royalty and a Hall of Famer in his own right, watching Pierce walk out the door was especially difficult. Pierce is second on the franchise’s career scoring list and is a near-lock to be the 22nd player to have his number retired once his playing days are done.
“I got a lot of respect for Paul and what he has accomplished,” Bird said. “But who says he’s not going to play another four years? It’s a tough situation.”
Garnett, Pierce and Jason Terry were traded by Ainge to the Celtics for MarShon Brooks, Gerald Wallace, Kris Joseph , Kris Humphries, Keith Bogans and three first-round draft picks. The trade is expected to be made official on Friday once Joseph becomes trade-eligible.
Josh Newman is SNYNets.com’s Field Reporter. Follow him on Twitter for up to the minute news and banter on all things related to the Brooklyn Nets and the NBA