Paul Pierce didn’t have a choice as to whether or not he would be traded to the Nets, but Kevin Garnett did thanks to being one of the few players in the league that had a rare no-trade clause built into his contract.
And apparently, it took a whole lot of convincing to get Garnett to waive it in order for him to be included in the deal that sent both him and Pierce to Brooklyn to play next season.
If the Nets go deep into the playoffs with their newly-acquired stars, they’ll have Pierce to thank for delivering the extensive sales pitch to Garnett that resulted in him accepting his new assignment.
From Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston:
“It was one long, long phone call,” Pierce said with a laugh. “Probably like an hour-and-a-half, two hours. I just remember I was standing outside and it was 100 degrees, and I just remember after the phone call I was dripping sweat.
“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. Iknow 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 a $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.
“I knew his initial reaction was going to be against it, but I knew this was going to be a long conversation, too.”
Pierce and Garnett were introduced to the media in Brooklyn on Thursday, which is where this story was told.
It may have taken a while to convince KG to leave Boston, but it may have taken even longer for the move to finally sink in for Pierce, who has played all 15 of his NBA seasons for the Celtics.
The Spurs fell behind by 18 and eventually lost to the Bulls, 95-91, last night – which begged the question:
Does San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich bear any responsibility for his team’s lack of early intensity?
Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News:
I don’t remember playing tonight. I didn’t play. Guys get a lot of money to be ready to play. No Knute Rockne speeches. It’s your job. If you’re a plumber and you don’t do your job, you don’t get any work. I don’t think a plumber needs a pep talk. If a doctor botches operations, he’s not a doctor anymore. If you’re a basketball player, you come ready. It’s called maturity. It’s your job.
Like it or not, motivation is part of an NBA coach’s job.
But that’s also precisely what Popovich is doing.
His credentials dwarf any other coach’s. He can play to his own ego and absolve himself of responsibility – and players will seek to please him. His years of success have earned him the ability to motivate this way, a method no other coach could use without alienating his team.
Once the Rockets let Donatas Motiejunas back into free agency, this was only a matter of time.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
This sounds remarkably similar to the salaries and incentives set in the original offer sheet from the Nets. But remember, the Rockets didn’t match some of those bonuses that Brooklyn would have been bound to.
So, why not hold Motiejunas to what became a four-year, $31 million offer sheet once matched? Houston got something in return – a later trigger date on guaranteeing Motiejunas’ 2017-18 salary. Originally, that decision had to be made March 1 – which would’ve meant dropping Motiejunas from the team this season to prevent his salary from counting next season. Now, the Rockets can make that call in July, after this season is complete.
The following two Julys, Houston will also have a choice on guaranteeing Motiejunas’ upcoming salary or dropping him.
Essentially, Motiejunas is signing the most lucrative Hinkie Special in NBA history. If he plays well and stays healthy, the Rockets have Motiejunas at an affordable rate. If he struggles or his back injuries flare up, they can drop him with little to no penalty.
After they backed themselves into this corner, Motiejunas and his agent, B.J. Armstrong, didn’t do so bad. Considering the similarity between this contract and the Nets’ original offer sheet, it seems Houston helped Armstrong save face after a bungled free agency (which is easier to accept when you’re adding a talented reserve to a formidable team).
But for how little is guaranteed and how much control the Rockets hold over the next four years, wouldn’t Motiejunas have been better off accepting the $4,433,683 qualifying offer?
The Rockets had Donatas Motiejunas in a bind.
He was beholden to them on a four-year, $31 million deal and unable to sign with other teams. Motiejunas’ choices: Report for a physical or wait in limbo.
But apparently Houston has allowed him out of that constraint.
Marc Stein of ESPN:
This means Motiejunas can’t sign with the Nets, who signed him to the original offer sheet, for one year.
I bet it also means Motiejunas and Houston have agreed to a new contract. Otherwise, why release him from the offer sheet? The Rockets would be giving up a tremendous amount of leverage out of the goodness of their hearts – unless this is just a prelude to a new deal with Houston.
John Wall didn’t like how Jusuf Nurkic bumped him, so Wall shoved the Nuggets center from behind and sent him to the floor.
An overreaction to the bump? Probably. Wall got hit with a technical foul.
But I’m mostly just impressed Wall was strong enough to push over Nurkic.