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Top Boston Sports Stories of 2013, No. 6: Celtics trade Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Doc Rivers 12.27.13 at 9:23 am ET
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Over the final days of the year, will count down the top 13 stories of 2013 in Boston sports. This is No. 16: Celtics trade Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Doc Rivers. To see the previous entries, click here.

The move seemed incomprehensible at first.

Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in Brooklyn Nets jerseys? Impossible.

Sure, Pierce and Garnett’€™s best days clearly are behind them, but these men had led Boston to two NBA Finals and the organization’€™s first title since 1986.

But on June 27, Celtics€™ president of basketball operations Danny Ainge completed a trade that marked a changing of the guard. Boston traded Pierce, an revered 15-year Celtic who persevered through incredibly ugly times in Boston, and Garnett, the man perhaps most responsible for the franchise’s drastic turnaround, and began the inevitable rebuilding process for the Celtics.

The Nets also received Jason Terry, who disappointed in one season for the Celtics. His year in Boston will be remembered more for the posterizing dunk LeBron James laid on him than his contributions to the team.

“We would like to thank Paul, Kevin and Jason for everything that they have done for this franchise,”€ Ainge said. “€œWe would not have won Banner 17 without Paul and Kevin, and they will go down amongst the all-time great players to have ever worn a Celtics uniform.”

The Celtics garnered three first-round picks (2014, ‘€˜16, ‘€˜18) along with Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, Kris Joseph, MarShon Brooks and Keith Bogans for the trio.

“We are excited to welcome Gerald, Kris, Keith, MarShon and Kris to the Celtics family. They bring a wealth of talent, experience, depth, and flexibility to our team,” Ainge said.

With Terry, Pierce and Garnett scheduled to make a combined $33.4 million in the 2013-14 season, and considering that the most appealing return Boston received was the three first-round picks, the move was widely viewed as a salary dump and the beginning of the Celtics’€™ rebuilding process.

The band began to break up earlier in the summer when Boston shipped coach Doc Rivers to the Clippers.

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Read More: Boston Sports Stories of the Year 2013, Danny Ainge, Gerald Wallace, Jason Terry
Report: Nets make push for Hawks’ Josh Smith 02.11.13 at 9:54 am ET
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The Celtics‘ days of Atlantic Division dominance appear to be ending, and the division might soon get even tougher. According to an ESPN report that credits league sources, the Nets — who began Monday with a 1½-game lead over the Celtics for second place in the division behind the Knicks — are making a push to acquire Hawks forward Josh Smith or Bobcats guard Ben Gordon before the NBA’s Feb. 21 trading deadline.

Forward Kris Humphries is the player the Nets are said to be offering as the centerpiece of either deal, with shooting guard MarShon Brooks available as well.

Smith is set to become a free agent following this season and is expected to demand close to maximum salary, so the Hawks risk losing him and getting nothing in return if they stand pat.

The 6-foot-9 Smith is in his ninth NBA season, all with the Hawks, after going directly from high school to the pros. In 46 games this season, he’s averaging 16.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.2 blocks — all slightly above his career averages.

Read More: Ben Gordon, Bobcats, Hawks, Josh Smith
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Lakers’ latest embarrassing loss ‘not acceptable’ to Kobe Bryant 01.22.13 at 7:57 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Celtics at Cavaliers, 7 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI-FM)
College basketball: Boston College at Maryland, 9 p.m. (ESPNU; WEEI-AM)
College basketball: Pittsburgh at Providence, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Iowa at Ohio State, 6:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Michigan State at Wisconsin, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: South Carolina at Missouri, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Illinois at Nebraska, 8:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Kentucky at Alabama, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: Flyers at Devils, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)


‘™¦ The Lakers are 17-24 and alone in 12th place in the Western Conference after Monday’s 95-83 loss to the Bulls in Chicago, their sixth straight road loss. It’s not sitting well with Kobe Bryant.

“Very, very tough, very, very frustrating, trying to keep my cool,” Bryant said. “It is embarrassing. It is not even embarrassing. I am a big history guy. Playing here in this arena with these incredible fans, you’re in the house of MJ [Michael Jordan], [Scottie] Pippen, PJ [Phil Jackson] built, to put this kind of brand of basketball on the floor is just not acceptable.”

Bryant indicated coach Mike D’Antoni‘s uptempo style might need some adjustments.

“We’re going to have to look at some things,” he said. “We’re going to have to change something. Probably going to have to post the ball a lot more, slow the game down a lot more. That’s just my intuition, but that’s my gut right now. I have to take a look at the film again, but we’re definitely going to have to change something.”

Dwight Howard took only five shots, hitting two.

“It’s frustrating,” Howard said. “I can’t do what I do best with five shots.”

Pau Gasol was removed from the starting lineup in favor of Earl Clark, who had 12 points and eight rebounds.

“I’m not excited about it,” said Gasol, who finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds. “But right now I’m more worried about us as a team and us struggling, so it would be selfish of me talking how I feel about [this] in particular.”

‘™¦ Nets forward Kris Humphries was the target of verbal abuse by Knicks fans on his way to the court prior to Monday’s game at Madison Square Garden, but the fans were silent after Brooklyn walked off with an 88-85 victory.

“They were harassing me when I was going in and out of the tunnel,” Humphries said. “But after, I asked them, ‘Why’s everyone so quiet?’ ”

Added Humphries: “They were saying everything, everything under the sun.”

Humphries followed that with a tweet: the Garden got really quiet on the way out.

Knicks guard J.R. Smith, who missed a potential game-tying basket at the buzzer, decided to respond and get in a dig at Humphries about his ex-wife, Kim Kardashian, who now is pregnant with singer Kanye West.

Tweeted Smith: Wasnt quiet when Kanye tore it down last month.

‘™¦ The Sacramento Kings appear headed to Seattle to become the new SuperSonics, as the NBA confirmed Monday that the Maloof brothers agreed to sell the team to a Seattle group led by investor Chris Hansen.

The Hansen group is expected to pay a little more than $340 million for 65 percent of the franchise, which is valued at $525 million. The deal needs approval from the NBA Board of Governors.

“While we are not at liberty to discuss the terms of the transaction or our plans for the franchise given the confidential nature of the agreement and NBA regulations regarding public comments during a pending transaction, we would just like to extend our sincerest compliments and gratitude toward the Maloof family,” Hansen said in a statement. “Our negotiations with the family were handled with the utmost honor and professionalism and we hope to continue their legacy and be great stewards of this NBA franchise in the coming years and decades.”

Heat star LeBron James had an interesting take on the announcement. Tweeted the reigning NBA MVP:

So the Kings getting sold for 525M!! And the owners ain’t making no money huh? What the hell we have a [lockout] for. Get the hell out of here.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Jan. 22, 2012, in the AFC championship game, the Patriots edged the Ravens, 23-20, after Billy Cundiff‘s 32-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left with seconds remaining. Which Patriot scored the game-winning touchdown early in the fourth quarter?

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Read More: Chris Hansen, J.R. Smith, kobe bryant, Kris Humphries
Kris Humphries re-signs with Nets 07.18.12 at 1:53 pm ET
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Kris Humphries signed a two-year contract to remain with the Nets. The deal reportedly will play Humphries $24 million.

“Kris has been a very consistent player for us over the past two years,” Nets general manager Billy King said in a statement. “He has developed into one of the top rebounding forwards in the league, and we are very pleased to welcome him back.”

Last season the power forward averaged 13.8 points and 11 rebounds, all career highs. Humphries, who was drafted 14th overall in 2004, appeared in 62 games last season.

The 27-year-old has played with the Nets for three seasons, shooting a career-high 52.7 percent from the field in his second season with the Nets. He has also played for the Raptors, Mavericks and Jazz in his eight-year career.

Humphries attracted attention last season after marrying reality TV star Kim Kardashian for 72 days and appearing on her show.

Read More: Billy King, kim kardashian, Kris Humphries, Rumor Mill
Report: Nets end trade talks for Magic center Dwight Howard 07.11.12 at 4:02 pm ET
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According to Ric Bucher of ESPN, the Nets have called off talks with the Magic over a potential trade for Dwight Howard.

The Nets had been trying to acquire the center from Orlando in recent days and weeks, with the latest talks reportedly involving a package of four first-round picks, center Brook Lopez and power forward Kris Humphries. Lopez and Humphries would have gone to Orlando in sign-and-trade deals.

According to the report, there is concern in the Nets organization that the Trail Blazers will try to sign Lopez, a restricted free agent, away from Brooklyn. Portland had previously offered Pacers’ seven-footer Roy Hibbert a four-year max contract, only to see Indiana match the offer and retain the center.

Read More: brook lopez, Dwight Howard, Kris Humphries, Roy Hibbert
Report: Cavs may hold key to Nets-Magic deal for Dwight Howard 07.09.12 at 10:00 am ET
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The seemingly endless speculation about the future of Dwight Howard continues.

According to multiple news outlets, including Fox Sports Ohio, the Cavaliers are said to hold the key to a three-team trade that would send the All-Star center from the Magic to the Nets.

The deal may have as many as 10 players involved, including Nets forward Kris Humphries, who could go to the Cavs via a sign-and-trade agreement. Cleveland might also be seeking Nets guard MarShon Brooks and a first-round draft pick as part of the package, sources told Fox Sports Ohio late Sunday.

The 27-year-old Humphries set career highs last season — his ninth in the NBA — in points (13.8), rebounds (11.0) and blocked shots (1.2).

Howard, who becomes a free agent at the end of the 2012-13 season, has made it clear his preferred team is Brooklyn, but the Nets have been unable to offer a deal attractive enough to entice the Magic. Adding a third team such as the Cavs is expected to help speed up the process. The Lakers also have been rumored to be in the running for Howard, with young center Andrew Bynum reportedly being dangled as trade bait.

Magic officials are expected to meet Monday morning and discuss the particulars of the proposed trade.

The Magic’€™s newly hired GM, Rob Hennigan, also is in the middle of a coaching search to replace Stan Van Gundy.

Read More: Brooklyn Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dwight Howard, Kris Humphries
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Jeremy Lin offers support to Kris Humphries 02.22.12 at 7:51 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Celtics at Thunder, 7 p.m. (CSNNE, ESPN; WEEI)
NBA: Lakers at Mavericks, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: West Virginia at Notre Dame, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Kansas at Texas A&M, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
NHL: Bruins at Blues, 8 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Kings at Avalanche, 9 p.m. (NBCSN)


‘™¦ Even after a loss, the legend of Jeremy Lin continues to grow. Nets forward Kris Humphries, who is regularly booed at NBA arenas following his separation from reality TV star Kim Kardashian, said Lin offered support to him after Lin’s Knicks lost on Monday to New Jersey.

“I saw him in the tunnel outside the locker room after the game,” Humphries said during an appearance on Tuesday’s “The Scott Van Pelt Show” on ESPN Radio. “He’s a really nice guy. He just said, ‘Hey, I don’t know why they boo you, but I think it’s crap, and you’re playing really well.’ That was nice of him to say. He’s a really nice guy. ‘€¦ It’s nice to see great things happen for nice people.”

Humphries had 14 points and 14 rebounds in Monday’s game and appeared to enjoy quieting the Madison Square Garden fans.

“I love the hostile environment,” Humphries said. “There’s nothing better than sending 19,000 people home upset [Monday] night at the Garden. We love that. People are getting rowdy — whether they’re booing me or not — but to get a win like that felt great, and sometimes you’ve just got to mess with the crowd back.”

Meanwhile, Lin is on the cover of Sports Illustrated for the second week in a row, becoming the first New York athlete ever to have that distinction.

‘™¦ Broncos backup quarterback Brady Quinn is reaching out to Tim Tebow after unflattering comments Quinn made about Tebow appeared in a GQ article. In the Michael Silver story, Quinn was quoted as saying the team “had a lot, I guess, luck, to put it simply,” and that “the fans had a lot to do with” Tebow getting the starting nod over Quinn.

“There was a big calling for him,” said Quinn, who is an unrestricted free agent. “No, I don’t have any billboards. That would have been nice.”

After the article came out Tuesday, Quinn went on Twitter and insisted the comments do not reflect his true feelings about his “great teammate.”

‘™¦ Lakers legend Magic Johnson is starting his own cable television network, called Aspire, set to debut June 30. It’s the first of 10 new independently owned channels Comcast promised to launch by 2018 as part of an agreement with the FCC and Department of Justice to diversify the cable landscape.

“This is so exciting for me, I’m pinching myself,” Johnson told The Los Angeles Times. “This is big for myself, for the African American community and the African American creative community. I wanted a vehicle to show positive images and to have stories written, produced and directed by African Americans for our community. Aspire ‘€” that’s how I’ve been leading my life.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Feb. 22, 1934, which Bruins defenseman played his final game and then became the first NHL player to have his number retired?

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Read More: Brady Quinn, Jeremy Lin, kim kardashian, Kris Humphries