All good things must come to an end, but that doesn't make this any less painful to write.
Tonight the Brooklyn Nets will head to Miami to take on the Heat in Game 5 of their playoff series. With a loss, their season will be over, and for the third time in four seasons LeBron will have knocked off Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Only it's not that that really depresses me. After all, LeBron is in the midst of his run. He's by far the best player on the planet, and it's going to take an incredible effort by an incredible team to knock him off four times in seven games. And it's been clear for a while that the Nets aren't that team.
What really hurts is what this loss could mean for the future of Pierce and KG. KG turns 38 on Monday, and is finishing his 19th season in the NBA. He's the only member of the 1995 draft class still playing, and while he's under contract for $12 million next season, he's already made over $300 million in his career. Garnett is also coming off a season where he averaged career lows in minutes played and points per game, and had his lowest rebounding numbers since 1995-96. KG almost walked away in 2012, and now it seems like a better than 50/50 bet that he'll do so this summer.
If he leaves, he'll leave with the following legacy: Only player in the Top 50 all-time in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals (Top 20 in everything but assists), 15-time all-star, 4-time first team All-NBA member, 9-time first team defense, 2004 MVP, 2008 Defensive player of the year, 2008 world champ.
He's one of the three greatest power forwards of all-time, and best of all, you know when he does hang them up, he didn't leave one single thing on the court. 100% effort 100% of the time. Legend.
Pierce on the other hand will likely play again next season. While he'll be 37 years old this summer, he still proved himself to be a valuable player this year, despite some definite signs of decline. But he'll be a free agent, and could find himself jumping to a true contender for a chance at one more ring. Considering the Clippers situation at small forward (starting Matt Barnes), and Pierce's roots (grew up in LA), joining Doc in LA is a very real possibility.
The bottom line is that the odds are stacked against these two playing with each other beyond this season. There's a better chance that neither is in Brooklyn next year than both are, and that is a little depressing.
So I'm going to enjoy tonight (really sucks it goes head-to-head with the Bruins..but that's what DVR is for), knowing full well that it's the last time we see two guys that truly love each other go to battle together on the court. It would be unbelievable to see them go into Miami and win one, putting a final feather in their cap, but that's a lot to expect against LeBron at this point.
It sucks we couldn't see the 2008 Pierce/KG Celtics against this version of the Heat, with everyone in their prime. LeBron is a much better player than he was in 2008, but that Celtics team could have given him fits.
But that's how sports, and especially basketball, works. One team blocks another for as long as they can, and then the other team finally gets past them.
I just know I'll always have love for Pierce and KG. They brought back the Celtics, and even though they're wearing a different uniform now, I still feel like they never left.
Here's to rooting for them one more time.
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Michael Dyer 5/14/2014 02:09:00 PM Tweet Edit