Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry are in Brooklyn for only one reason — to bring the Nets a championship.
The former Boston Celtics were not shy about throwing the C-word around at their introductory press conference alongside coach Jason Kidd and general manager Billy King at the Barclays Center on Thursday afternoon. They feel the Nets are ready to win now.
“At this point in our careers, we are championship driven,” Pierce said. “We made a lot of money in our careers. We have won a number of awards. At this point right now, we are about winning a championship. Brooklyn gives us the best opportunity.”
Garnett, Pierce and Terry all bring a championship pedigree to Brooklyn. The first two won a title for Boston in 2008 and Terry earned a ring with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011. They feel that experience will help bring the Nets’ young core to another level this season.
“You have to like the direction they were headed in prior to us joining the roster,” Terry said. “This just keeps going in the right direction. The talent is there.”
They talked about the sacrifice and day in and day out work it takes to get to that level. The potential for less playing time and shots didn’t appear to problem for guys used to being either their team’s go-to guy or a top scorer. In their minds and Kidd’s, they are in Brooklyn to help the Nets’ youthful trio of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez mature into one of the league’s upper-echelon teams.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for the young guys to learn when you talk about these guys who have won championships,” Kidd said.
The three veterans join the Nets after King completed a draft-day trade that sent Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, MarShon Brooks, Keith Bogans and Kris Joseph — along with the team’s first-round picks in 2014, 2016 and 2018 — to Boston. The Nets also signed former Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko to a two-year deal.
They are added to a Nets team that went 49–33 last season and lost in the opening round of the playoffs to the Chicago Bulls. Garnett believes the only thing left is for the current roster to mesh together.
“The biggest question mark should be how well are we able to gel and how quickly are we able to gel?” he said.
The players avoided answering questions about taking the city from the Knicks and the rivalry between the two franchises. Kidd just said getting the better of the Knicks is just a step toward winning a title. Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, who made a surprise appearance, believes his new roster will appeal to fans across the five boroughs and has already generated buzz.
“I am very lucky that my new players are familiar to the New York public,” he said. “I think that there will be a great anticipation for them to do good.”
Just “good” won’t be enough, though. The Nets made the trade to put the team on an elite level in the league. Even with Garnett, Pierce and Terry in the back ends of their careers, being 35 and older, King believes that their intangibles and toughness are just as important as their skills.
“The three players sitting here are all champions,” King said. “What they bring here is not just basketball. They will bring knowledge, they will bring experience, they will bring competitiveness, they will bring toughness.”
They hope to bring a championship, as well.
Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter @cng_staszewski.