The future is unknown for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett as it pertains to Brooklyn. Pierce is a free agent who wants to keep playing while Garnett recently turned 38 and may wind up retiring even with $12 million guaranteed on the table.
They have been Nets for the last 10 months and while we might not have seen the full versions of them in their peak years, we can appreciate their season in Brooklyn just by looking at their words.
Though Pierce and Garnett did not comment every day at practices and following games, they did speak enough that we realize that when they do talk, they sometimes have an interesting way with words about many topics.
Therefore we present the best of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in quotes as the story arc of the 2013-14 Nets, starting with comments over the summer, going through the optimistic times of training camp, the lows of November and December, the highs of a four-month resurgence and the postseason, which even with it falling short was still memorable.
Act 1 - Coming to Brooklyn, how it went down and the reaction to becoming Nets:
Nets Trade for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce
July 18 - "I'm 35. There are 50-year-olds and 60-year-olds [here at the news conference]." - in response to a question about his age at the introductory news conference.
July 18 - "I was like, ‘Do you understand what's going on in Boston? [A potential trade to the] Clippers thing appears to be dead. So what do you think, big fella? I know you don't want to retire. I know you don't want to retire,. "You have too much in the tank, you love the game too much.' Sometimes you just have to tell Kevin to sit back and think about it. He reacts to everything. Like his initial reaction to everything is, ‘No.' [You say,] ‘Kevin I got $100 million.' [And he replies,] ‘No.' Then he has to sit back and think about it and then once he warms up to it, he makes his decision, and that's about anything." - on a phone conversation with Garnett to convince him to join the Nets.
Act 2 - Getting acclimated to the New York area and the Knicks
Aug. 7 - "And I thought LA and Boston traffic was bad trying to get in Holland tunnel wow. - tweeting about traffic in New York.
Aug. 8 - "The only thing that separates the two teams is a bridge. And both of them are in the same division and both of them are considered contenders. You can't help but say this is probably gonna be the best rivalry in sports next year."
Aug. 8 - "I think the hate [for the Knicks] has grown a little. Everybody knows how much I disliked the Knicks when I was with the Celtics, but I think it's grown to another level. I think it's time for the Nets to start running this city." - speaking on the Michael Kay show about the Knicks.
Aug. 9 "Let's start it up right now. Let's start the beef. It's no secret that me and New York got history. It's no secret. This is no secret. It's already known. - in an interview with Complex Magazine about the Knicks.
Sept. 19 - Who? Who?" "Who? Exactly. Who? Who are we talking about right now? Exactly. Who are we talking about? We are talking about nothing." - sharing his thoughts about J.R. Smith.
Act 3 - Hope abounds in the preseason and this is Celtic business
Sept. 30 - "I came here to win a championship. I don't even want to see a banner if we win the division. The expectations have grown." - at media day explaining the unimportance of a division title.
Oct. 2 - "I just remember a kid who had a huge upside. I said [Johnson] was going to be an All-Star one day, was going to be one of the best players in the league." - recalling his brief time with Joe Johnson in Boston in the 2001-02 season.
Oct. 17 - "That's going to be our identity. That's a message to the league..." - explaining a hard foul in a preseason game against Miami.
Oct. 23 - "I've probably heard his stories about 25 times each. So when he comes and gives us the stories in the locker room here, I already know what he's gonna say, but it's always entertaining." - on never tiring of Garnett's stories.
Sept. 30 - "We're here to get another ring. That's the only reason we came to Brooklyn. The only reason we came to Brooklyn." - on why he came here, with emphasis on the word only.
Oct. 9 "Just in awe a little bit. The skill level is impressive. I haven't been around a skill level like that playing with [a big man] I don't think ever." - on Brook Lopez.
Oct. 9 "It was weird, I'll be honest, seeing him in his little tight suit, drawing up plays, It was good though." - on seeing Jason Kidd coach for the first time in a game.
Oct. 12 - "It felt like first day of school to be honest. I was super excited, just glad to be here." - on the first preseason game in Brooklyn.
Oct. 17 - "Tell LeBron to worry about Miami. It has nothing to do with Celtic business." - telling LeBron James to mind his business after he criticized Pierce and Garnett for ripping Ray Allen for leaving Boston.
Act 4: The highs of the home opener, the lows enduring the struggle for continuity
Nets Top Heat in Home Opener
Nov. 1 - "We're trying to obviously set a new creed here, a new culture. And I guess you start with getting the bears and monkeys off your back. So I guess this was a good one to get off." - on ending a 13-game losing streak to the Heat.
Nov. 1 "Truth. I always call P, 'Picasso.' He's like a beautiful painting, a beautiful painting I get to watch every night." - on Pierce's performance in beating Miami.
Nov. 19 - "It's longer because hell, we need it. Obviously, the more teaching within the system that we're all learning and trying to get down, trying to create this identity, that's needed. Hell, if we got to be here two or three hours, then that's what it is." - explaining practice.
Nov. 19 - "I'm not a genie. I'm not a fortune teller. I can't tell time. The only thing I know is just to work through the process and work through what it is. My confidence is that we have a group of guys that are willing to and committed to changing what the current is.. It's easy to quit. It's easy to give up and walk up out of here and say, ‘You know what this is too hard,' but we don't have that type of team nor do we have that type of character." - on his belief that the Nets would turn it around.
Nov. 22 - "We're soul-searching right now. Quitting is not an option." - after losing by 30 to Minnesota.
Nov. 24 - "I think everybody in here is embarrassed. You definitely don't want that at home." - on getting booed in a blowout loss to Detroit.
Nov. 27 - "I know it is eventually going to turn around. I have been in this situation before. I remember a couple of years ago ... I was with a Boston team that was under .500 going into the All-Star break. We weren't playing well, [but] you look up playoff time, we were one quarter away from being in the [NBA] Finals. So, you know, I believe that I will turn this around and our team will turn this around." - after the Nets dropped to 4-11 with a loss to the Lakers.
Act 5: Three steps forward, reunions and several steps back:
Dec. 9 "I've already been past that a long time ago. I'm a person that's always been when it's time to move on, you move on. You can ask any girlfriend I've ever had. That's just the way it is. There's no hard feelings. I'm here. This is where I'm at now, and you've gotta move on. You can't mourn or put your head down. [You] just go to work." - on moving on from the Celtics.
Dec. 10 "He is the head of the snake. He is one of the most important pieces of what we are trying to do here and we are trying to build and win a championship." - after Deron Williams returned from ankle injury and scored 25 against the Celtics.
Dec 12. "I grew under him. I was a young player, played nine years with him, just continued to mature and become an all-around player under him. Before I was really known as a scorer and he took over and taught me the other parts of the game: the defense, the rebounding, the passing. He just helped my game grow and mature." - on what Doc Rivers means to him.
Dec. 12 "Last night [I] took it out to the movies. Maybe I'll get on a boat ride with it and do a candle light dinner. We're getting to know each other very well." - on getting acclimated to having a glove on his hand.
Dec. 17 - "It felt a little more comfortable just not having it [my glove] there," Pierce said. "You're wearing something on your hand shooting the ball. You've been shooting the ball with your bare hand your whole life, so it's a little difficult." - on wearing a protective glove for his hand.
Dec. 19 - "I mean, I don't really care. I have adjusted. I have been a starter my whole career and I am making an adjustment as a player coming off the bench." - on starting or being a reserve.
Dec. 20 - "We gotta be up for everybody. It's not like we're walking giants. We're bottom-feeders right now, just like Philadelphia." - on losing in overtime to the 76ers.
Dec. 27 - "I've always been the first option, I've always been in the starting lineup. Adjusting to a new role is kind of different for me at times, especially coming off the bench, being a third or fourth option. I've never done that in my career. I'm just right now trying to fit in with the group so we can decide what's best for this group to be successful." - on adjusting to not being the man.
Dec. 28 - "We're an easy team to guard right now." - after losing at Indiana.
Dec. 31 -"I listen to Jason. I do what he says. He's our coach. I don't get into all that..." - supporting Kidd at 10-21.
Dec. 3 - "We were trying to figure out how to patch this thing up, how to get this thing together. There's a lot of moving parts to this. We can't hang our heads and feel sorry for ourselves because no one in this league is going to feel sorry for us. We need to figure this out soon. I don't think anyone around here is having fun, and losing is definitely not fun." - after a blowout loss to Denver.
Dec. 10 "November was a s----- year for us. A s----- month ... Oh God. They are going to probably fine me for that, I don't give a s---. F--- it."- telling how he really felt about the first month.
Dec. 12 - "We kind of had like a little conversation about it, but I'll always have a special place for Doc. I thought he helped me [not only] grow as a player, but as a young man. Telling us a lot about basketball and the philosophies of it and about being a young man -- a young black man -- understanding our responsibilities because we are men and we were starting our families at the same time. "
"And just overall [he's] a great role model. No one's perfect -- all humans have their flaws -- but he's damn near close to it. I'm just grateful that he just came into my life and I'm able to share that experience with him." - on Doc Rivers.
Dec. 12 - "I think the schemes, which we've changed from what it used to be at the start of the season to what we are doing now. They are very different. They're asking a lot of the bigs to do certain things night in and night out, but it's been done with a better effort. We're talking a lot. I think our biggest problem was communication and Jason just has us talking and communicating, yelling the schemes out and yelling the coverages. For the first time, I think in a long time, every guy is trusting the schemes." - on the change in defensive schemes after Lawrence Frank was re-assigned.
Dec. 12 - He's a fighter. All the changes were made and all the [disruption on the staff and with injuries], the first thing you noticed about him is that he took charge and trusted in who he was." - on what he has learned about Kidd.
Dec. 16 - "I mean we are playing well and I feel like we have some momentum going. Obviously we ran into a talented Washington team who's playing well also. ... It wasn't like we were playing Swish cheese." - explaining a loss to the Wizards at home.
Dec. 27 - "I wouldn't show up if I didn't." - on seeing the fight and will to turn it around from the teammates.
Act 6 A dependable star is born, the resurrection begins and an emotional return to Boston
Jan. 1 - "The most frustrating thing about me is I could see if I wasn't hitting. I want it to be that when shots and I wasn't in here working or taking [expletive] days off. But I put time into my craft for it to come out. But then that's rhythm on offense. And I don't have that right now." - on struggling offensively.
Jan. 6 - "Joe Jesus, because he might not be there when you call on him but he's there when you need him.". - on his new nickname for Joe Johnson.
Jan. 8 - I dial it up, I want her to pick the phone up. Tonight, I dialed and she was right there, answering like she's supposed to." - his unique way of saying the jump shots went in.
Jan. 10 "Gutsy. Gutsy." - a brief assessment of beating Miami at home in double overtime.
Jan. 10 - "I should've put that s--- in my contract. You can tell Jason I said that." - joking about reluctance to play center.
Jan. 15 - "It was overwhelming, I'll be honest. "For the first time in a long time, I was a fan of something other than basketball. I enjoyed the experience. I wished it wasn't so media driven." - on visiting Chelsea FC on the trip to London.
Jan. 24 - "We're not talking about the jump shot." - perhaps being superstitious of his jump shot going well.
Jan. 26 "It took me two days to get the layup up. I thought I was gonna get caught, but I got it still, put the ball in front of me and got the layup." - on intercepting a pass by Rajon Rondo and going coast-to-coast for a layup.
Jan. 10 - "Our attitudes changed. Our pride has changed." - on the Nets turning it around in 2014.
Jan. 10 - [Falling apart] is not the message we are sending here in Brooklyn. We are sending [the message of] a hard-fight team. If you know anything about Brooklyn, it's tough. They are known for hard-working people. And that is what we are representing here." - on why the Nets didn't quit.
Jan. 26 - "I took a left today instead of a right." - on going to the visitors locker room in his return to Boston.
Act 7: Surging towards .500, road-tripping and making history:
Feb. 11 - "Truthfully, winning the division hasn't even come up. So it's all about growing, playing better basketball right now. I think first you've got to get over .500 before we start talking about winning the division. Then you can talk about raising your goals up." - first .500, then we talk division.
Feb. 12 - "When you're on the road like that, you have to have a great sense of urgency. You gotta know what's coming and expect it to be tough. We haven't been a great road team, so this is a moment of truth for us." - using a play on words with his nickname to discuss the circus trip.
Feb. 23. "He is a guy that is going to be able to open up the door for athletes around the world. It doesn't matter your race, gender or sexuality because it's about being part of a team and caring for one another." - on the Nets signing Jason Collins.
Nets Make History: Sign Jason Collins
Feb. 25 - "We lose like this, it's just a complete lack of focus. I mean, no way against any NBA team we should lose by 40 with the guys we got." - after a 44-point loss in Portland.
Feb. 6 - "Another question, man. F------ hate the 5. That it? I hate the 5. Now I am done." - joking about how he loves playing center.
Feb. 6 - "He came in the other day and I told him he looks like Logan (Wolverine). We always go back and forth with the Marvel Comics and I told him he looked like Wolverine with the non-shaved and the face. He looked like real Logan today. But it was good to see him. Good energy. The guys were excited to see him. Coaches, everybody, he lit the room up." - on seeing Brook Lopez for the first time since the season-ending foot injury.
Feb. 6 - "I think more importantly he impacts the defense," Garnett said. "Kirilenko does a lot of different things, he is a great passer, he sees the floor very differently, similar to a point guard but defensively is where he is like an octopus. He has his hands in the lane, hands on rebounds, hands on the floor, we need him. He does so much of the small things for us that don't really show up on the stat line sometimes." - on what Andrei Kirilenko does with his tentacles defensively.
Feb. 22 "I think it's important that anybody who has the capabilities and skill level to have a chance to [do] something he's great at. I think it would be bias[ed], and, in a sense, racist, if you was to keep that opportunity from a person." - on signing Jason Collins and on not using bias to sign players.
Feb. 26 - "It's too late in the god damn season to be playing like this," - after a 44-point loss at Portland.
Act 8: Storming ahead, rolling at home and back frustration
March 3 - "Just mentally the Bulls have really had our number. And to be honest, if I was them, I'd feel like when they come play the Nets, they feel like they can beat us anytime. But I think the guys had pride tonight and said, ‘We're tired of being pushed around by the Bulls.' We decided we wanted to take the fight to them, be the aggressor first." - on a 16-point win over the Bulls.
March 7 - "I think as long as I'm in the NBA, it's still going to be a little emotional for me. I played so many regular-season games, so many big games on that floor. So many memories that are never going to go away on that floor." - on playing in Boston.
March 10 - "I told [Kidd], 'I'm playing.' It's as simple as that. He asked me, and I told him, 'Yeah. I'm in.'
"I knew the implications of this game. Maybe if it was a different type of game [I would have sat out], but this was one of our biggest games of the year against a division rival. There was a lot on the line, so you can always pencil me into those types of games." - on playing with a shoulder stinger against the Raptors.
March 10 - "It was unbelievable, man. Now we know. You Brooklyn fans, you can't go below that anymore. That's the expectation. Our crowd was unbelievable tonight. That's probably the best I've heard all year. It was a playoff atmosphere; they were in it from start to finish. And I really feed off those types of crowds, it brings energy, it brings momentum to your ballclub and we love it." - on the fans at the Barclays Center after he hit the game-winning three-pointer.
March 10 "I think it's just confidence. I've been that way since I was 2 years old, I remember my first game winner at 8 months old, so it just grew from there." - on the confidence of hitting a game-winner.
March 14 - "I don't talk about the Knicks. No Knicks questions. Ever." - when asked about his thoughts on Phil Jackson.
March 15 - "You've got two teams that are a game or a half a game apart. I tried to express that to the guys in the locker room, ‘Hey, from here on out these games are like playoff games.'" - after the Nets lost to Washington.
March 24 - "You saw everybody was really pissed off about letting this game go, so they care. That's important, and I know we'll bounce back." - on blowing a big lead and losing at New Orleans.
March 31 - "We never had a locker room rift. There was never any whispering going on or one guy blaming another guy. And that's the things that you see in losing locker rooms on young teams when things go wrong, and you never saw that here." - on how the Nets turned it around.
March 20 - "The most frustrating part about this is that you just can't push through this. The back obviously deals with the legs, the lower part of your body, the core, your hand movements, your breathing -- a lot of it comes into play. So it's not like an ankle where I can muscle through it, a knee or an arm, neck, something. This is damn near your body, so I have a whole new respect for the body." - on dealing with back spasms for the first time.
Act 9: The playoffs are in sight
April 4 - "For the most part we've been playing so well here over the last couple of months. It really feels good. It's like you feel comfortable when you have dinner at your house rather than when you go someone else's house you don't know what they're going to cook. Same thing." - after the Nets won their 15th straight home game.
April 8 - "He definitely wouldn't have made that play six weeks ago because he probably would have been on the end of the bench. But, you know, he's been playing, getting the experience, having better awareness to the ball, and that's what I've been trying to tell him. - on Mason Plumlee's game-ending block on LeBron James.
April 15 - "It's that time of year when you get the chills. It's that sort of time when the weather is getting warmer. It's an exciting time of year. Everybody loves being in the playoffs." - on the playoffs coming up.
April 9 "You have to understand they probably get asked that about the Pacers, they probably get asked that about the Bulls. There's some things they probably get tired [of] ... who knows what LeBron gets asked every night? He probably gets asked some of the most ridiculous questions." - on LeBron James responding to a question about the Nets by saying next question.
"THIS IS WHY THEY GOT ME HERE!"
Act 10: Finally the playoffs!
April 19 "He was classic 'Truth. Epic." - on Pierce's fourth quarter in Game 1.
April 20 - "When things get tough, he has a support system to let him know that it's not the end of the world, and to not be so hard on himself. Deron's biggest problem has been Deron. He's very, very hard on himself, to the point where you have to pull him to the side and give him some real s---, say some real s--- to him." - on keeping the confidence of Deron Williams at a high level.
April 22 - "You can't have fourth quarters like that. Thirty-six points, that's too many points for anybody -- preschool, little league, YMCA, Raptors. Too many points. Fourth quarters are supposed to be our best quarters defensively." - on the fourth quarter in Game 2.
April 24 - "I've never had a series in Brooklyn before. I never said ‘F-Brooklyn' before, so we're about to see what it's like." - on what he expects from the fans before Game 3.
April 26 - "He's as cool as the other side of the pillow. He's as cool as it comes."- on Joe Johnson's quiet persona.
April 26 - "It just makes us difficult to guard. We have different weapons on this team. When the head of Voltron is at its best, it's very hard to deal with." - on what the Nets are like when Williams and Johnson are playing well together.
April 27 - "I'm never upset. That's first off. Obviously, everybody wants to play, but I trust Jason's decision-making. I don't ever want to be a distraction to any coach that I play for. And I'm not gonna start now. If anything, I try to be positive, I try to be energetic, try to use my experience. I always say rest is good, but it is what it is. Whatever decision Jason makes, I'll stand behind him 100 percent." - on being rested by Kidd.
April 29 - "I'm a Net. I don't focus on almost. In high school, I never dealt with the chick that almost wanted to go out with me." - on a possible trade to the Clippers last summer.
May 2 - "There was no way in hell that they were going to come in here and get a win today. It was just desperate [our approach] and now we get to go up there and have the same kind of mindset and a very, very voracious and passionate atmosphere." - on not losing Game 6.
May 2 - "I thought Deron showed a lot of heart, a lot of grit. I'd like to use another word but I can't. For the most part I thought he showed great leadership in coming out playing aggressive. He was beat up a little bit but he sucked it up and my hat goes off to him. He could have taken another route, but that's our leader." - on Deron Williams getting 23 points in Game 6.
May 4 - "When we didn't have a hope, he gave us light. We've gotta give him something, we can't just leave him out there like that. But, ‘Joe Jesus,' I told you, cooler than the other side of the pillow, man. He's one of the best to do it, man. I don't think he gets his props, but he goes out and he does his job and he does it at a high level." - bringing back the Joe Jesus quote.
May 7 - "None yo," - on what he told teammates while coaching from the bench, in other words none of your business.
May 10 - "I don't know what that 'step up' comment meant. I don't know if you just slid one in there or whatever, but it's cool. It's cool. I get it. I get it. I need that for fuel, but tonight I thought I was aggressive." - so what does stepping up mean?
April 19 - "Well, I don't remember if I ever played [in a playoff game without the shot clock], since I am a dinosaur. It's been so long." - in response to being called a dinosaur.
April 19 - "That's why they got me here!" - what he yelled on the court in Game 1 after hitting a big shot in the fourth quarter.
April 20 - "I don't know what you're talking about. I guess I don't keep up. I keep up with the players. I keep up with the players." - when he found out that Bryan Colangelo doesn't run the Raptors.
April 22 - "I think it's just in the DNA, Everybody don't have it. Everybody is not born with it. Can't buy it at Costco or Walgreens. It's in the DNA." - explaining his clutch history in fourth quarter.
April 22 - "We were a soft team tonight." - on losing Game 2.
April 25 - "By no means should everybody be satisfied with the way we won, because we know we're a better team. We know we can play better. I'm just looking at the long run, fellas. We can't be playing with fire. We have to be a better team down the stretch." - on winning Game 3 after blowing a 15-point lead.
May 2 - "Without a doubt." - when asked if the Nets would win Game 6.
May 4 - "Sometimes it's about being in the right place at the right time. And I was there tonight." - on his series-ending block of Kyle Lowry.
May 11 - "What I try to do in this locker room and with my teammates is just try give them belief -- that we can beat this team. They're not unbeatable. You've got to have that mental [approach] if you're trying to get over that mountain that you're trying to climb." - on giving the Nets belief about beating Miami.
Larry Fleisher is the NetsDaily Social Media Editor on Facebook. You can follow him on Twitter at: @LarryFleisher