The Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets agreed to a massive, shocking, franchise-changing trade on the night of the 2013 NBA draft, with the Celtics sending foundational leaders Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett (plus guard Jason Terry) to Brooklyn in exchange for first-round draft picks in 2014, 2016 and 2018, the expiring contract of power forward Kris Humphries, small forward Gerald Wallace, shooting guard MarShon Brooks, small forward Kris Joseph and guard Keith Bogans. You already know this. Why it's not done yet, though, you might not.
While the deal — which figures to boost Brooklyn from the middle of the East's playoff pack toward the conference's upper crust, and which puts Boston on track for a long-time-coming franchise reboot with new head coach Brad Stevens at the helm — was agreed to on June 27, the league's moratorium on trades and free-agent signings meant it couldn't become official until July 10 ... but actually, it couldn't even get finished then, because it includes second-year pro Joseph, whom the Nets signed for the remainder of the 2012-13 season on April 12, and the collective bargaining agreement prevents players from being traded within three months of their free-agent signing.
Three months means July 12, which — [checks calendar] — is today. By the close of business today, the Celtics are expected to ship out the No. 2 scorer in team history and the destiny-altering big man whose arrival in Boston signaled the start of a new era of competitive excellence for one of the NBA's most storied franchises, highlighted by the 17th NBA championship in Celtics history. And so, as one does in situations like these, that franchise bought a full-page ad in Friday's edition of the Boston Globe to say thank you.
Hit the jump to see the full ad, as shared by Boston.com sports editor Matt Pepin:
The ad reads:
FOR YOUR HEART
FOR YOUR PASSION
FOR YOUR SACRIFICE
FOR PLAYING THROUGH THE PAIN
FOR BLEEDING GREEN
FOR HONORING TRADITION
FOR AN AMAZING RIDE
FOR RESTORING CELTIC PRIDE
FOR BANNER 17
We're willing to bet this'll be going up on a lot of cubicle walls in New England today.
On one hand, as Green Street's (and Prep Rally's) Ben Rohrbach notes, you'd be forgiven if you felt the emotion here was a little bit manufactured. After all, it was the Celtics who elected to trade Pierce and Garnett in the interest of getting draft picks and clearing cap space to begin a rebuild; it's not like the stars retired and walked off into the sunset or anything.
Still, since this doesn't seem to be an acrimonious parting of ways for the two sides — Pierce gets to contend in a big market while making the full $15.3 million he's owed rather than being bought out by Boston for $5 million before June 30, and Garnett chose to waive his no-trade clause to assent to the move, so he's on board — a doff of the cap and a hearty ovation on the way out the door is the appropriate farewell for two players as integral, as legendary, as professional and as deeply enmeshed in Celtics history as Pierce and Garnett.
Tomorrow, the Celtics and their fans can turn their attention to beating the two new guys wearing black-and-white. Today, saying thanks feels about right.