The Boston Celtics traded away the foundation of their championship team and kept only Rajon Rondo behind. Rondo is coming off an ACL injury, playing for a team that is entering a rebuilding phase and it will be tough, mentally and physically.
Paul Pierce knows a thing or two about playing through rough times in Boston. He had a few rough seasons while playing for the Celtics and he tried to share his wisdom with Rondo.
Paul Pierce, via ESPN Boston’s Jackie MacMullan:
“Right now, he’s injured, and I told him this is probably going to be the toughest year of your whole career, mentally and physically,” Pierce said. “Physically, you’re dealing with an injury. Mentally, you know nothing but winning since you came into the league… You may be put in a situation where you may not win a lot of games. You have to be a leader now; you know me and Kev are not there anymore.
“You have to go through these times. I’ve been through them. I explained to him how I went through it. I feel like, I’m one of the best players in the league and now… [Rondo is] going to be in that situation for maybe one year or two years, who knows? But you have to be mentally prepared for it, and that’s some of the things we talked about.”
Kevin Garnett took the trade hard and considered retiring before Paul Pierce talked him out of it. Garnett was particularly close to Rondo and said it is hard to leave Rondo behind.
Kevin Garnett, via ESPN Boston’s Jackie MacMullan:
“This whole transition, man, we came in as strangers and bonded as brothers,” said Garnett, a person Rondo has previously suggested was his closest friend on the team. “And I say that with Glen [Davis], Kendrick [Perkins], Tony Allen, with Eddie House and [James Posey], just a connection with what it is.
“When Ray [Allen] left [for Miami last summer], it was hard for everybody there. We saw Doc [Rivers] leave [for Los Angeles last month], that blew us out of the water. It’s kind of like looking up at the wave coming. And now we’re here, so I can only imagine what Do’s going through. Obviously, I reached out to him, told him what I was going to do or whatever. I’m sure he’s dealing with whatever he’s dealing with, obviously he’s trying to get back with [rehabbing from ACL surgery in February].
“Whatever that whole universe and his world is presenting to him… It’s unfortunate. I had to take away that, what you have established as a brother and as a brotherhood amongst each other, is what you take away from it. Although I’m losing a teammate, I have a friend for life. And that’s how I look at it.”