Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry introduced as new Nets
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Paul Pierce looked up at the empty rafters at the Barclays Center and smiled.
"I'm used to seeing some banners," said Pierce, who played all of his previous 15 seasons for the storied Boston Celtics. "Now, when I look up here, I start to think, how can I help put one up?"
Pierce was introduced to the media along with Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry during a news conference on the floor of the Barclays Center. All three were obtained in a deal with the Celtics that was made on draft night but became official last week.
Pierce, 35, and Garnett, 37, bring what Nets general manager Billy King called "a championship pedigree" to a roster that has a talented core of young players in Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson. And make no mistake, a championship is what this team is gunning for.
That was hammered home at the end of the news conference when team owner Mikhail Prokhorov, wearing jeans with a suit jacket and Nets T-shirt, burst into the arena and ran like a rock star up onto the stage.
"When I bought the team, I promised to create a championship contender," Prokhorov said. "I think for the time being on this stage I have done what I can. Now I think it's high time for the team to do this."
The moves are going to cost Prokhorov $80 million in luxury tax, but he did not seem to be terribly concerned.
"I'll be proud when we win a championship," Prokhorov said. "I think for me, it's not the way to wait 10, 15 years for results. I don't think our fans want that, either."
The Nets have never won an NBA championship, though they did get to the NBA Finals twice when new coach Jason Kidd was their starting point guard in 2002 and '03.
Pierce and Garnett won a championship together for the Celtics in 2008, Boston's 17th. The duo also helped Boston win the Atlantic Division five straight seasons before tumbling in the standings last season and losing to the Knicks in the first round of the playoffs.
Pierce looked stunned at times that he was no longer a Celtic, saying that the trade "hasn't really sunk in."
But both aging superstars said that it became clear to them that the Celtics were headed in a different direction in June when the team negotiated a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers for coach Doc Rivers, and at this point in their careers they wanted a chance to play for another championship.
Pierce said he became so convinced that the Nets were their best shot of winning a title that he spent 90 minutes on the phone with Garnett in an effort to get him to waive his no-trade clause so the deal could happen.
"You get used to playing for a winning team," said Garnett, who spent his last six seasons in Boston after spending his first 12 in Minnesota.
The Nets lost in seven games to Chicago in the first round of the playoffs last season. They believe they have a chance to win -- and win big. Terry, who will turn 36 in September, before the start of the 2013-14 season, also brings NBA title experience to Brooklyn, winning a championship with Kidd in Dallas in 2011.
Though many of the questions Thursday were about the team winning the battle of New York against the Knicks, it's clear that the Nets have their eye on one thing.
"I think we're talking about a championship, so it doesn't matter if it's Miami, Chicago, Indiana; it's New York, too," Kidd said. "It is a nice rivalry here between the two of us, and hopefully we can get the better of them this year, but the big picture is that championship trophy, and that's why we're up here. The gold trophy is what we're here for."
Pierce agrees. And while he believes that it may take a little time for all the new players to mesh, he says it will happen.
"Obviously, the talent is here. I think you've got all the ingredients for a championship team," Pierce said. "It's just how well we put the seasoning on it, the pepper and all the little spices together. The great players somehow always figure it out, and I think we will."