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Paul Pierce handles exit from Boston gracefully, adding to his greatness

Upon hearing of a possible trade, Paul Pierce (right) had to feel out Kevin Garnett on whether he’d accept it.
Upon hearing of a possible trade, Paul Pierce (right) had to feel out Kevin Garnett on whether he’d accept it.justin lane/epa

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NEW YORK — If there were any doubts as to whether Paul Pierce was sad that his time with the Celtics was officially over, his facial expression screamed disbelief Thursday when he, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry were introduced as Brooklyn Nets.

Pierce showed no disdain toward the Celtics for trading him after 15 years, he showed only love for the city, team, and its fans, laying the groundwork for what could be one of the more emotional returns in Boston sports history when Pierce visits TD Garden next season.

What makes Pierce a true Celtic is that even with his new Nets jersey wrapped tightly in his hand, he spoke about the team that defines him, regardless of how many trophies he lifts in Brooklyn.

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