Rivers: Didn't feel right to trade Pierce

Rivers: Didn't feel right to trade Pierce
September 12, 2013, 5:15 pm
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You're not the only one who wanted to see Paul Pierce spend his entire career with the Celtics.

Doc Rivers, in Boston for a charitable basketball event for ABCD, spoke to WEEI.com about a number of Celtics-related issues, including the trade that sent his veterans out of town.

Pierce had spent his entire illustrious career with the Celtics, many of those under Rivers. But at the end of the 2013 season, GM Danny Ainge had a big decision to make: fade into oblivion with Pierce and Kevin Garnett ending their careers in Boston, or trade them away now while he can still get pieces in return for them.

As everybody knows, he traded them away for contracts and first round draft picks. That didn't sit right with a lot of people, including Rivers. He knows that other owners and GM's around the league took another approach with their longtime superstars.

“I didn’t want Paul to go, even though I knew it was coming,” said Rivers. “That was a tough one for me. Even when I was here and it was being talked about — my thing is, Kobe [Bryant] is going to end up being a Laker for life. Dirk [Nowitzki] is going to be a Maverick. That’s the one thing that, if we didn’t do right, that was the one right thing we didn’t do for Paul.”

While there's been a lot of back and forth and "he said, he said" between Rivers and Danny Ainge, it's become more and more clear that Rivers just simply didn't feel right staying in Boston while Pierce and Garnett got the boot. That's where he and Ainge didn't see eye-to-eye, and that's why Rivers is coaching the Los Angeles Clippers now.

But the Pierce-Garnett trade isn't the only one Rivers looks back on in disagreement. Go back two seasons before that when Kendrick Perkins was traded to the Thunder with Nate Robinson for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic.

The Celtics spiraled out of contention shortly after trading Perkins away, and Rivers notes that without Perkins the team lost much of its toughness, and protection for Garnett.

“I think [it was a mistake] because we needed the toughness," Rivers said. "The one thing we did by losing Perk was we removed Kevin’s protector. I didn’t think it was a coincidence that, after Perk left, that Kevin got into all those little flicks with the other teams. Perk deflected all that.”