LeBron James has spoken, and now Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce have said their piece. A day after James questioned Garnett, Pierce, and Brooklyn Nets teammate Jason Terry for criticizing Heat guard Ray Allen for leaving the Boston Celtics last summer (when all three Nets players were still with the Celtics), Garnett had a message for the four-time MVP James: this is not your concern.
"Tell LeBron to worry about Miami. It has nothing to do with Celtic business," Garnett told ESPN.com on Thursday, when the Nets defeated the Heat in a preseason game.
Garnett, Pierce, and Terry were traded to Brooklyn this summer. While Pierce and Terry had little say in the matter, Garnett had to waive his no-trade clause for it to work.
Last season Garnett said he had cut off contact with Allen, who turned down a more lucrative offer from the Celtics to sign with the Heat in 2012.
Pierce also questioned James' comments, albeit in a more subdued manner. "I left Boston?" he asked, drawing a distinction between his trade and Allen's exit as a free agent.
James was not questioning Garnett's or Pierce's loyalty, but just suggesting that NBA players sometimes have to choose between doing what is best for their own career and what is best for their teams, and no one should fault a player for opting for the former.
"That's the nature of our business, man," James had said Wednesday. "I don't know what Boston was going through at the end of the day. I know Ray had to make the best decision for him and his family and his career... KG and Paul did that as well. You can't criticize someone who does something that's best for their family."
The Heat and Celtics were major rivals during the last three seasons, and now that Pierce, Garnett, and Terry are in Brooklyn, the Nets will surely be one of Miami's biggest rivals this season. The fireworks will start November 1, when the Heat visit Brooklyn for the Nets' home opener.