Follow the Nets' return to New York with Newsday's Rod Boone.
Paul Pierce: Nets have all the championship ingredients
Paul Pierce is making sure the Nets up their ante.
Division title? The veteran small forward basically shrugged off any shred of significance that may come along with winning the Atlantic Division crown, stressing the Nets have a bigger fish to reel in.
“Truthfully, it’s not that important,” Pierce said Monday at the team’s media day at the Barclays Center. “I came here to win a championship. I don’t even want to see an Atlantic banner put up if we win it. I didn’t even know how many Atlantic Division championships we won in Boston.”
Told the Celtics rattled off five consecutive Atlantic title-winning seasons, Pierce was still not impressed.
“I don’t remember getting a hat, T-shirt, a call for winning the Atlantic Division,” Pierce said. “You don’t get anything for it. The expectations have grown here in Brooklyn. It’s no longer, ‘The New Jersey Nets, hopefully we can win the division.’ Now, they’re the Brooklyn Nets with championship aspirations, and you see that with the people around here, the owner, what they’ve done to to try to turn this organization around. And that’s what they are quietly building on.”
Kevin Garnett surmised his reason for waiving his no-trade clause in simplistic terms.
“We’re here to get another ring. That’s the only reason we came to Brooklyn,” he said before pausing and adding: "The only reason. .... But it’s good to be here. It’s good to be here in Brooklyn.”
General manager Billy King reshaped the roster, trading for Pierce, Garnett and Jason Terry. He also signed free agent forward Andrei Kirilenko on the cheap, inked point guard Shaun Livingston and drafted forward Mason Plumlee. On paper, the Nets are as stocked as any team in the league and Pierce wasn't about to deny it.
“I think all the ingredients are in the locker room,” Pierce said. “You have youth, you have good size, we have veterans, we’ve got experience and know how, we’ve got depth. So I think all the things that you need for a championship caliber team are in the locker room. It’s just about how we come together, how we sacrifice and do the necessary things we need to do to make this an elite ball club.”
However, Pierce knows that won’t be easy. As he explained, each team is unique in its own way. So in essence, he can't just go about things the way he did in Boston and expect it to translate into success in Brooklyn.
It doesn't work that way.
“Every championship team has their own different ingredients about how they go about it,” Pierce said. “Obviously, Miami has theirs, Dallas has theirs and Boston has theirs. So, I think with this different group, it’s up to us to come up with something we can kind of use to bond together, to help us understand our clear goal as [winning] a championship and what we are going to need to do. The way you win one championship is certainly not going to be the way you win the next one.
“Every team is different, all personalities are different. So, it’s just something for us to figure out. We didn’t have that concept until Kevin and Ray [Allen] got there. We still were a team. Probably didn’t have championship aspirations at the time. But I think every championship team has their own chemistry set and what might work for one group doesn’t work for the other group. So that’s up to us a figure out as we go.”