Paul Pierce, Brooklyn Nets
The former Celtics captain was second on the team’s all-time scoring list behind John Havlicek, third in minutes played, and fourth in games played at the end of the 2012-13 season. Pierce’s Celtics career was rejuvenated when the new Big Three was born when when Boston acquired Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in the summer of 2007. During the first season of the new Big Three, the Celtics won their 17th NBA championship, defeating the Lakers in six games.
It appeared certain that Pierce would retire as a Celtic, but after playing 15 seasons in Boston, he was dealt to the Brooklyn Nets along with Garnett and Jason Terry as the Celtics went into full rebuilding mode in the summer of 2013.
Pierce took out a thank-you ad in the Globe once the deal with the Nets was completed. He’s averaging 13 points per game in his role with Jason Kidd’s struggling Nets. It would be hard to imagine nothing but a loud ovation when he makes his return to the Garden on Jan. 26