Longtime Celtic Paul Pierce said that he is "hurt" because he was not able to finish his career with the team he gave so much to in his NBA career.
Pierce expressed his disappointment about being traded to the Brooklyn Nets in an interview with ESPN. His teammate Kevin Garnett also partook in the conversation with journalist Jackie MacMullan. Pierce and Garnett both expressed their disappointment about how their tenure in Boston ended, especially because they won an NBA championship for the team in 2008.
"Things were pushed--I felt like forced on us a little bit. I didn't see the fairy tale ending like this." Garnett said.
Pierce mentioned that he understood the NBA is a business and being traded comes with his job, but he also said it was upsetting the way his move to Brooklyn transpired.
"...It really kind of hurt when you look at the news throughout the season and Mark Cuban says we're never trading Dirk [Nowitzki]; or they say we're never trading Tim [Duncan]; or we're going to re-sign Kobe [Bryant], and nothing's really being said about me; I'm in trade rumors," Pierce said.
The 35-year-old small forward was visibly uncomfortable as he spoke about his departure from Boston. Pierce said he hoped to stay with the Celtics until he retired, like several of his aforementioned peers.
"That's the only thing about this whole ordeal, you just wish that when you look at the other players like Tim Duncan, Kobe, Dirk and all those guys, they've won a championship; they've won a championship there, similar to what I've done and been there their whole career," Pierce said.
Garnett echoed Pierce's sentiment. The former Celtics big man was in a similar position during his career with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Despite the team's mediocrity during his time with Minnesota, Garnett played for the franchise for 12-years before he signed with Boston. He said when a player shows such loyalty to a team, the franchise should reciprocate the same devotion.
"I thought he deserved the right to begin and end his career in one place," Garnett said of Pierce. "I feel like he's given to that city everything."