Goodbye and good luck

Goodbye and good luck
July 12, 2013, 1:30 pm
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Breakups are never easy. Saying goodbye is never fun. And if there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to take a breakup from bad to worse, it’s the first time you see your ex — whether it’s on Facebook, Instagram or at an NBA press conference — in the arms of another.

But that’s what’s on deck for Celtics fans.

That’s because Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are officially members of the Brooklyn Nets. The trade that changed everything has finally gone through. Ads have been taken out. New uniforms have been made. The next time you see Garnett and Pierce, they’ll be smiling side-by-side, flanked by Jason Kidd, Billy King and Mikhail Prokhorov, and declaring to the world how they can’t wait to get back on the court and lead the Brooklyn Nets to an NBA championship.

Knowing they won’t be in Boston is hard enough. Knowing they’ve now joined forces with an Atlantic Division rival is like dipping an open wound into a fresh vat of Russian Vodka. The press conference is just the beginning, too. This newfound relationship isn’t going anywhere. It will be at the forefront of NBA circles and will be plastered across national TV. It will come to Boston at least twice next year.

Making matters worse, Pierce and Garnett will return as contenders. They’ll be living the good life. Meanwhile, this breakup has sent the Celtics fans into rehab; left to pass the time with Kim Kardashian’s sloppy seconds. Pierce and Garnett have immediate hope for the future, they’ll wake up every morning ready and eager to attack the day. Meanwhile Celtics fans will be like: “Aw man. Do we have to?”

But while seeing your ex in the arms of another is one thing that’s guaranteed to make up a breakup worse, here’s one thing that always makes it better:

Remembering that it was the right thing to do.

And through all the emotions of these past two weeks, and the months and years that will follow, that’s the one aspect of this trade that will remain unchanged. Even if no one wanted to say goodbye, it’s hard to argue that it wasn’t time. And while there’s no perfect way to trade a pair of athletes as important and beloved as Pierce and Garnett, this one is pretty close.

It will be difficult to watch them play for a contender and division rival, but there’s an underlying happiness in the fact that they get to contend at all. It wasn’t happening in Boston. Had they stayed here, the end of Pierce and KG’s careers would have played out in depressing irrelevance; with another handful of first or second round exits. This way, they go down the way they should: Fighting proud among the NBA’s elite.

Meanwhile, the Celtics get three first round picks (and get out of Jason Terry’s contract). They took advantage of a team that’s desperate for immediate results, and pulled in a bounty that exceeded anything they could have gotten from anyone else in the league.

Of course, nothing is guaranteed. Going to Brooklyn won’t necessarily bring KG and Pierce another title. Those three Nets draft picks won’t necessarily help raise the Celtics 18th banner. But there’s no denying that the two parties now have a brighter future apart than they would have had together.

And that makes even the most emotional breakup far easier to swallow.