EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Paul Pierce has moved on.
“I’ve already been past that a long time ago,” Pierce said Monday. “I’m a person that’s always been when it’s time to move on, you move on. You can ask any girlfriend I’ve ever had. That’s just the way it is. There’s no hard feelings. I’m here. This is where I’m at now, and you’ve gotta move on. You can’t mourn or put your head down. [You] just go to work.”
Pierce has had a tough time adjusting to his new team. In 15 games with the Nets, he’s averaging just 12.4 points on 36.8 percent shooting.
Pierce has missed the past four games due to a broken bone in his right hand. He thinks there’s a “good chance” he’ll play against his former team Tuesday night at Barclays Center, but he isn’t certain.
“I’ve had my ups and downs, but it’s not about me,” Pierce said. “It’s about getting this team healthy right now and trying to see if we can reach our potential.
“One of our goals before the season was to try and win a championship. Unfortunately, we didn’t get off to the best start, and I probably haven’t been playing the best basketball, due to some other minor injuries I’ve been dealing with. But I feel like as we continue to get healthy and guys come back and we get our chemistry, we’re gonna be there toward the end.”
Pierce still thinks the Nets have the potential to be a championship team.
“It’s just putting it all together, developing chemistry, getting healthy and then seeing what we’ve got,” he said. “We’ve seen flashes of it at times, but it’s tough when you don’t know who’s going to be in the lineup and who’s going to be out. But injuries happen to every team and it’s something we have to deal with. But I’d like to see us when we get fully healthy and see what our potential can possibly be.”
Pierce will make his regular-season return to Boston on Jan. 26. He traveled there for Brooklyn’s preseason game, but he was not at the arena while the game was played.
“I think the emotions are already behind me,” Pierce said. “We played them in the preseason. We had our press conference. I probably won’t have any more emotions until I get back into the arena that I played in. But I’ve moved on, they’ve moved on, Doc [Rivers] has moved on, Ray Allen [has] moved on. So it is what it is.”
Just what the Doc ordered: Pierce says it’s just a “coincidence” that he is returning to perhaps face his former team and former coach this week. The Nets host Rivers’ Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night.
Rivers will make his return to Boston the night before. Pierce expects Rivers to get a standing ovation from Celtics fans and would be “surprised” if he doesn’t.
The relationship between the fans and their former coach soured after Rivers left for a Western Conference contender and said he didn’t want to be part of Boston’s rebuilding process.
“I think he’ll get a standing ovation no doubt from what he’s been able to bring to the organization,” Pierce said. “How many years was he in Boston? Nine? Yeah. He was able to bring a championship (in 2007-08) and to almost bring another one. He should receive a standing ovation. Doc deserves an ovation from how he was able to change the culture of the organization.”