Paul Pierce stared straight ahead, an occasional smile or laugh interrupting the otherwise distant look on his face.
Now a Net, it’s clear he’s still getting over not being a Celtic.
“It’s tough when you’ve been in a situation like me for 15 years,” Pierce said.
But he’s getting used to it, and he and Kevin Garnett are ready to make the most of their new surroundings.
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Traded from Boston to Brooklyn, the duo was introduced along with Jason Terry, the former star of Seattle’s Franklin High School, on Thursday at a news conference at Barclays Center, their new home.
Pierce said it was difficult to leave the city where he’d spent his entire career. He appeared dazed at times while listening to questions and answers, even having to ask for one to be repeated while trying to fight his way out of a fog.
“You saw the trade and it’s like, ‘OK, there’s a trade.’ But for me to actually be here now, looking for a place to live, being in this arena, trying to get to know my way around the city, it’s really starting to sink in now that it’s become real,” Pierce said.
“I’m no longer a Boston Celtic, I’m a Brooklyn Net and that’s what it is right now,” he continued. “It’s a business. At some point we all have to move on and I’m here to try to create some kind of legacy here in Brooklyn.”
The crowd applauded, appearing more excited about having Pierce in Brooklyn than he was about being here. That’s understandable given his history in Boston, where he is the Celtics’ No. 2 career scorer.
The three newcomers were joined on the podium by general manager Billy King and first-year coach Jason Kidd, who at 40 is a longtime rival, a former teammate of Terry’s and just a few years older than his new players. And they got a visit at the end from Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, who made a late decision to attend the news conference and meet the players whose salaries helped the team’s payroll soar so high that the club will pay about $80 million in luxury tax next season.
“I think they’re still counting money in the back office, but frankly speaking, I just hope the check doesn’t bounce,” Prokhorov joked.
• The Minnesota Timberwolves signed free agent center Ronny Turiaf, a Gonzaga alum, to a two-year, $3.2 million contract.
• Waived Tuesday by the Miami Heat through the NBA’s amnesty-release program, swingman Mike Miller cleared waivers Thursday and is now a free agent. Having lost the shooting and scoring of James Harden and Kevin Martin the past two offseasons, multiple media outlets have linked Miller to the Oklahoma City Thunder. By waiving Miller and his $6.2 million contract for next season, the Heat realize a savings of $17 million on the NBA’s luxury tax for this coming season.
• The NBA unanimously approved Charlotte’s nickname change from Bobcats to Hornets on Thursday at the league’s Board of Governors meeting. The board also approved an expansion of instant replay. Officials can now review block/charge plays after checking the replay to see if the defender was in the restricted area.
• Nine days after Andrew Bynum announced he would play for the Cavaliers, the team is finally ready to make it official. Bynum will be introduced at a news conference on Friday morning after signing a two-year deal potentially worth $24 million.
• The Orlando Magic signed free agent big man Jason Maxiell, adding a veteran presence to an injury-depleted frontcourt.
• Golden State signed free agent guard Toney Douglas.