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By Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor - @JESchott19

A new era of Brooklyn Nets basketball was inaugurated on Monday, as new head coach Jason Kidd posed for pictures with their star-studded starting five of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, and Brook Lopez.

Pierce and Garnett were brought in from long tenures with the Boston Celtics, and their mind is on one thing: winning a championship. Garnett said, “It was the only reason I came to Brooklyn” in a deadpan way that drew uproarious laughter from the assembled media, and continued, “Seriously, it’s good to be here in Brooklyn, everyone’s excited.”

Kevin Garnett at his press conference. Photo by @JESchott19.

Kevin Garnett at his press conference. Photo by @JESchott19.

Garnett said of all the talent on the Nets and how they can build chemistry, “Being around each other, repetition in practice, that’s what training camp is for, try to build chemistry, try to bring it all together. Guys need to understand each other’s games…or not. For the most part, everybody’s excited, everybody’s happy to be here, may not be the loudest moments, but we’re here, we’re excited, we’re ready to work.”

When asked about having Jason Kidd as his head coach, Garnett said, “I am looking forward to it, and it working in my favor. I played for Doc (Rivers) and he was really understanding with my body and I see Jason taking some of the same steps that Doc took with me. We were on the phone recently and I can tell in Jason’s approach, is it’s about betterment. The fact that he’s coming from a similar situation, in which I’m in right now, is a great one for me.” On the conversation Kidd had with Garnett about being limited in back-to-backs, KG said snarkily, “It didn’t go too well.”

He continued, “I understand where he’s coming from, he wants to make sure I’m durable, that I can get through an 82-game season, so I totally understand what it is. He’s not coming at me personally or as a man to be like that, he’s looking to better me.”

Kevin Garnett brought his usual intensity to Media Day. Photo by @JESchott19.

Kevin Garnett brought his usual intensity to Media Day. Photo by @JESchott19.

On whether him being a Net will escalate the Nets’ rivalry with the Knicks, Garnett said, “I don’t know. It’s my first time dealing with Knicks-Nets and New York rivalry. Coming from a Lakers-Celtics rivalry and New York-Celtics rivalry, so I don’t know, we’ll see though.”

There was talk at the end of last season that Garnett might retire. KG was asked if he considered it, and he said, “My decision to play basketball is solely on whether I want to play or not…I’m here because I want to be here and because I still have a desire to win and still trying to get another ring.”

Garnett spent six seasons in Boston, and was asked what it’s like to leave that market for New York. “All markets are small compared to New York. Boston is still Boston and obviously New York is New York, very similar, very demanding, but with good promise. I’m enjoying New York. It’s different living here than when you visit.”

On whether he, Jason Terry, and Pierce will have an edge after being dealt from the Celtics, Garnett said, “Coming here, understanding the process in how we were dealt, I’m sure he (Terry) has a little edge, I’m sure Paul has a little edge. I think everybody here has a little edge. I don’t think last year Nets players are happy about, the results of last year and how they felt.”

On how he will help Brook Lopez in terms of mentoring, “Obviously, Brook is already there, not much I can add to or anything he needs from me, but I will make myself as available as possible. That goes for anybody on this team. I’ve always tried to be an open book when it comes to teammates. I’m a player too, I’m a professional too, I’m not perfect, obviously try to keep myself together to be better and be whatever this team needs me to be.”

Paul Pierce at Media Day. Photo by @JESchott19.

Paul Pierce at Media Day. Photo by @JESchott19.

Paul Pierce said of joining the Nets and having Jason Kidd as his head coach, “It’s gonna be fun. What Jason’s brought to the game over time, everyone understands he’s one of the greatest players because he has one the best I.Q.s that we have ever seen as a basketball player. He’s well respected around the league, it’s gonna be fun. I grew up watching Jason Kidd play in Oakland, I’m a big fan of his. I think the NBA needs more greast basketball minds like his patrolling the sidelines, and it’s good to get some new blood.”

On whether the Nets are poised for a championship, Pierce said, “I think all the ingredients are in the locker room. I think that we have youth, good size, veterans, experience, know-how…we have depth, all the ingredients you need for a championship-caliber team are there.”

Pierce was asked how this team would match up with the defending champion Miami Heat, “Not only the challenge of the Heat, our goal is to win a championship, it’s not to go out and beat the Heat, if they’re in our way, we’ll definitely have to see them, but there’s other great teams, Indiana, New York, Chicago that we’ll have to face, but ultimately our goal is a championship, and we have the pieces in this locker room to get it done.”

The biggest question with Pierce’s role on the Nets is if he will take the last shot in games, as he did for many years with the Boston Celtics. He said, “Over the years, I’ve proven I can be a guy down the stretch that can make big plays, whehter it be a big shot or a big pass. On this ballclub here, we have a number of guys who are more than capable…Joe Johnson’s one of the most clutch guys in our league over the last eight, nine years. Deron Williams at point guard is very tough to guard when he shoots the ball, drives the ball, and also one of the toughest guys down the stretch to guard.

Nets Media Day 9-30-13 041“Then you have Brook Lopez, a budding center in this league, All-Star, shooting ability to take those shots and make big plays. Kevin Garnett’s done it. Jason Terry has done it. So I think game in and game out, it’s gonna be different, we don’t just have this one guy. Most teams have that one guy that you know, ‘this guy is gonna be the guy down the stretch.’ I think it’s gonna be a number of guys down the stretch and we’l share the load.”

Pierce said of being traded from the Boston Celtics, where he spent his entire career, “I understand it’s  a business. I have a chip on my shoulder because I want to win a championship. As a player, I always played with a chip on my shoulder so I don’t need any added motivation like a trade. I’m a self-motivated player, it’s a business, it’s over with.”

On moving from Boston to the New York area, Pierce said, “People in this organization have made this transition easy. From directions, with schools, hospitals, you know, where we’re gonna eat, they’ve made the transistion so smooth. I’m as comfortable today as I’ve been since I’ve been here and that’s just knowing that I have people that have my back and looking out for what’s best for not only me but for the team.”

 

 

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