June 25, 2018
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Maine Celtics fans gloomy after losing Garnett, Pierce to Nets

By Joe Sturzl

BANGOR, Maine — Rain poured in the Bangor area Friday, complementing the gloomy mood of some Bangor-area Boston Celtics fans one day after the team traded three of their most talented players away to the Brooklyn Nets.

“I’m a Bruins fan and a Red Sox fan now, and that is it,” said 35-year-old Charles Hammond Jr. of Bangor.

Boston traded Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry on the night of the NBA Draft. The Celtics also sent head coach Doc Rivers to the Los Angeles Clippers two days earlier for a first-round draft pick in 2015.

“I could see KG going because he wasn’t a die-hard Celtics player. I wish him the best down in Brooklyn. But Paul Pierce, that’s ridiculous. He is the heart and soul of the Celtics. When he came out of college they drafted him and rebuilt around him. Now he’s gone, and I don’t really care [about the team],” Hammond Jr. added.

“Garnett and Pierce should have stayed one more year. They got a couple of guys in the draft. They shouldn’t have gotten rid of Rivers either,” said 14-year-old Keenan Collett of Orono.

Not all reactions were as strong as Hammond Jr.’s and Collett’s, as the Celtics received first- round draft picks in return for their former coach and players.

“They need to rebuild, they are old. [Celtics General Manager Danny] Ainge is going to get younger people and start over,” said 48-year-old Dan Jocelyn of Argyle. “We have a lot of draft picks, use them to get younger players. We need young, we need stamina, and you don’t get that with Pierce. They are old, so this is great. Get some youth in there, that is all we need.”

Aaron Cyr, 23, of Old Town thinks the Celtics-Nets deal was a good trade overall.

“It’s time for Boston to start rebuilding their team,” he said. “They’ve had the same trio, KG, Pierce, Rondo, and Rivers in there for too long, it’s starting to peter out, so it’s time to focus on the next three to five years.”

Both trades yield Boston first-round draft picks in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2018 as well as players Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, Reggie Evans and Keith Bogans.

Jake Woodrow of Bangor and Jocelyn both agree that the players won’t be as important as the picks.

“It depends on the people coming in, and how promising [their] futures are going to be. The three first-round picks will help. They may go through some lows, but they need a plan for the future because KG and Pierce aren’t going to be their future,” Woodrow said.

“Maybe a couple [players can help] if we can build around them. It was a good thing to get rid of all that salary [of KG and Pierce],” Jocelyn said.

Cyr hopes that the players received in the deal will be dealt for more draft picks.

“I think they are going to go and get second-round picks out of them or get rid of what is left of their contract to further invest in the future,” Cyr said.

As for the dealing of the coach, everybody agreed that Rivers was a good coach, but some said he could have stayed to rebuild this new team while others saw it necessary to bring in a new coach for the new players.

“I think he will fit well with them, they have good talent. I think he will coach them to the conference finals, but they will probably lose to the Spurs,” Collett said.

“Doc Rivers being traded to the Clippers is a good idea. They need a new coach, Boston needs to rebuild,” agreed Hammond Jr.

The Celtics still have starting point guard Rajon Rondo, but Jocelyn sees him leaving as part of the rebuilding effort.

“I think they will probably ship him, why keep him? Why pay all that money when they are going to have a young team that isn’t going to do anything next year?” he said. “I don’t expect them to, if they do that’d be great. Other than that, get rid of Rondo, use some draft picks, get some hungry talent, and I think it’s going to be good.”

With all members of the Big 3 and head coach Rivers now gone, local fans believe it will be interesting to see Ainge’s future direction for the franchise, especially with all of the first-round picks at his disposal.

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