Danny Ainge: KG, Pierce have more good basketball left

USA TODAY Sports

Boston Magazine talked to Danny Ainge about his decision to trade Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett --and let Doc Rivers go-- and although there's a lot of shorthand about the trade, the piece quotes Ainge on how much he thinks Pierce and Garnett have left.

Ainge adds that Pierce and Garnett have more good basketball left in them, provided they don’t have to carry the team as they did in Boston. That was an annual debate inside the front office—trade rumors abounded each year—but he stubbornly refused to move them until he could get what he felt was equal value.

"If we didn’t get anything in return that’s worthwhile, then Paul and KG retire as Celtics and I’m completely satisfied and happy with that result," Ainge told writer Paul Flannery.  Still, he was ready.

The deal came together relatively quickly, but was the culmination of months of other conversations between Ainge and his Brooklyn counterpart, Billy King. The free-spending Nets were one of the few teams willing to take on the veterans’ contracts, and they were also willing to part with three prized first-rounders and give Boston the right to swap picks in a future season. The Celtics also sent Jason Terry to Brooklyn and, since the NBA requires that teams exchange nearly equal amounts of salary in trades, received from the Nets a raft of inferior players, including Kris Humphries and Gerald Wallace.

Flannery writes that Ainge thinks the Nets will be good in 2014, but Flannery writes "by 2016 and 2018, those picks could be extremely valuable, either as selections or possible trade chips. Every day that Brooklyn’s players grow older, the value of Ainge’s assets increases."

Ainge also demanded all three first round picks unprotected and wanted the deal configured so he would have a big trade exception, reported to be $10,275,136.

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