Paul Pierce Says Rajon Rondo’s Injury Set Off ‘Domino Effect’ in Breaking Up Celtics

Paul PierceHe may not like it, but as the days pass, it seems Paul Pierce is starting to get used to now being a Brooklyn Net. As a result, he’s opening up a little bit more.

The former Celtics captain was a guest Thursday on The Michael Kay Show, where he spoke about how his hatred for the Knicks has grown since the trade and that he thinks Nets-Knicks will be the best rivalry in sports next season. Now, new quotes are trickling in from the Nets forward about what the thought process was like in the time that led to the draft-night deal that sent him to Brooklyn — specifically, the role Rajon Rondo played in the process.

Rondo, who is still recovering from an ACL injury he sustained last season, has been the subject of trade rumors ever since Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry were traded from Boston. For Pierce, however, it all started back when Rondo went down with his torn ACL in January. As Pierce described it, Rondo’s injury began a chain reaction of events that ultimately resulted in Pierce leaving Beantown after 15 years with the Celtics.

“It would be hard to contend,” Pierce said in an exclusive interview with the Boston Herald on Friday. “I saw the vision. I saw all that. As a player, I’m selfish. I want what’s going to be good for me and the team. But you’ve got to look at the management looking at what’s down the road. If it’s up to me I would want to rebuild to win a championship by bringing players in. They were looking at the future, down the line.

“Rajon might not be here for the beginning of the year or however long he takes, so it would be tough for us to be a contender or get into a position to contend. Everybody saw that and I think that helped the decision on both sides.”

That much was clear after Rondo went down in January. The point guard’s injury gave the Celtics virtually no chance to contend for a title, and they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Knicks in six games. Doc Rivers then left to become head coach of the Clippers, and Danny Ainge pulled the plug with the trade about a week later.

“It was like a domino effect,” Pierce said. “It was like [the Rondo injury] was there and then Doc. When you put all that stuff together, you know the writing was on the wall.”