13 years later, Paul Pierce and Kendrick Perkins recall having different reactions to the Kevin Garnett trade

"I was hotter than fish grease," Perkins said.

Kevin Garnett celebrates after winning the 2008 NBA championship with the Celtics.
Kevin Garnett celebrates after winning the 2008 NBA championship with the Celtics. –Barry Chin/Globe Staff

On the 13-year anniversary of the trade that sent Kevin Garnett to Boston, former Celtics Paul Pierce and Kendrick Perkins reminisced and shared some initial thoughts they had when the deal was completed.

Pierce and Perkins, speaking candidly on “The Jump” alongside host Rachel Nichols and ESPN reporter Jackie MacMullan, had polar opposite reactions when the Celtics brought in the first-ballot Hall of Famer on July 31, 2007.

The longtime Celtic Pierce was so invigorated when he first heard that landing Garnett was a real possibility that he went to the gym to get shots up that day to make sure he was ready if it actually happened. Pierce said he had previously thought his time in Boston might be almost over, but once the idea of adding Garnett to the mix was presented, he was immediately intrigued.

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“I wanted to do anything I could to get Kevin Garnett in Boston,” Pierce said on Friday’s episode of “The Jump.” “All I ever wanted was an opportunity to win a championship.”

When the deal was finally done, Pierce was thrilled, saying that it was “a dream come true.”

Perkins didn’t see it the same way – at least initially. He was disappointed that the Celtics were parting ways with one of his close friends and fellow starting big man Al Jefferson.

“I was hotter than fish grease,” Perkins said.

He said he thought the organization was building around him, Jefferson, and Pierce, acknowledging now that he wasn’t looking at the bigger picture. Perkins said that at the time he “didn’t like KG, anyway.”

When Garnett arrived in Boston, he asked Pierce if there was a chance he might have an issue with Perkins. Pierce told him he wouldn’t, and he was right.

“Here we are today,” Pierce said. “They’re best friends.”

MacMullan provided another perspective, telling Nichols that she was puzzled by President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge’s decision to bring in Ray Allen. She was confused why Ainge would part ways with No. 5 overall pick Jeff Green, who had shown a lot of promise early in his career, in exchange for the talented yet aging Allen. Ainge told her on the record that Allen was a great professional, and off the record he mentioned that the Celtics were trying to get Garnett as well.

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Once both Allen and Garnett were in Boston, Perkins and MacMullan thought highly of the moves, and the Celtics helped actualize Ainge’s full vision by winning a championship that season.

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