NBA notes: Pierce's departure signals new era for Celtics
Notes • Nets-bound forward had spent entire career with Boston.
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Letting Doc Rivers go to the Los Angeles Clippers was the first sign. Getting rid of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett clinched it.

The Boston Celtics are rebuilding.

The Celtics have agreed to the terms of a deal that would send the two remaining members of the Big Three who won the 2008 NBA title to the Brooklyn Nets for a package of draft picks and players. Garnett is a future Hall of Famer, but it's Pierce's departure that signals the end of an era for the league's most-decorated franchise.

"It's sad to see everybody leave Boston. You just want them to go someplace where they have a chance to win, and they have," Rivers said at Clippers draft headquarters late Thursday night. "It's a great trade for Boston, too; not now, later. [Team president Danny Ainge] wanted to rebuild, and that's what he's doing."

The longest-tenured member of the Celtics, Pierce is the team's captain, a 10-time All-Star and a likely Hall of Famer. He is the second-leading scorer in the history of the NBA's most-decorated franchise, and also is in the team's top seven in rebounds, assists, steals, games and minutes played.

Garnett is also a future Hall of Famer, though only the last six years of his career were in Boston. It's Pierce, who slipped to 10th in the 1998 draft and has been a Celtic ever since, who had a chance to spend his entire career with the franchise and add his name to a list that includes Hall of Famers Larry Bird, Bill Russell and John Havlicek.

"[It's] sort of sad. You hate to see it," said Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, who was an assistant on the Celtics 2008 championship team. "But that's the NBA. It's constant change, and you have to be ready to adapt. I think what Paul Pierce did for that franchise and Kevin — I think's it's good for them. They have an opportunity to continue on.

"Good for the Celtics, where they can start their rebuilding."

Allen will return to Heat

Ray Allen is returning to the Miami Heat next season.

Allen exercised his $3.2 million player option Friday, barely a week after the Heat finished off the San Antonio Spurs to win the NBA Finals in seven games. Allen made one of the biggest shots in Heat history, a 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds left in Game 6 of the Finals to tie the game and force an overtime where Miami ultimately prevailed.

Allen turns 38 next month, yet still played in 102 games during the regular season and playoffs for Miami. That was the most appearances by any player in the league this past season.

Allen averaged 10.9 points in the regular season, and 10.2 points in the playoffs for the Heat.

Still no coach for Sixers

So much for the 76ers having a new coach.

General manager Sam Hinkie denied a New York Daily News report that the Sixers had decided to hire San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Brett Brown.

"Nothing of that substance happened I could tell you," Hinkie told The Philadelphia Inquirer on Friday. "We had a lot of things going on. That was not part of what happened in the last several hours."

Hinkie said he has not formally interviewed anyone for the coaching job vacated on April 18 by Doug Collins.