Posted June 28, 2013

Grading Celtics-Nets deal for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce

2013 NBA draft, Ben Golliver, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Gerald Wallace, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce


Brooklyn Nets — Grade: B+

Incoming: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry

Outgoing: Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Reggie Evans, Keith Bogans, three first-round picks, player(s) to be named later (UPDATE: MarShon Brooks is reportedly headed to Boston, while Evans is not part of the deal.)

Many writers opposed the opulent moves that Brooklyn made last summer, particularly its trade for Joe Johnson and the re-signing of Wallace. Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov continues to make roster moves in a manner that demands evaluation by its own standard. Decrying the outrageous sums of money and luxury tax implications is almost always important; with the Russian billionaire, though, it winds up just being a lot of hot air. It’s his money, he’s spending it inefficiently, he seems intelligent enough to realize he’s spending it inefficiently and life moves on.

With that in mind, this trade takes Brooklyn from being neck deep to fully submerged in its pool of financial commitments for next season. The Nets’ projected starting lineup of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Pierce, Garnett and Brook Lopez will cost more than $80 million in 2013-14, well over the luxury tax line by the time they start paying any of their reserve players. This approach is a major gamble on good health for Pierce and Garnett. If one or both of those guys isn’t close to 100 percent during the playoffs, this whole plan falls to pieces rapidly. Brooklyn’s new coach, Jason Kidd, a 40-year-old player last season, should hopefully have a firm grasp on how important it is to keep his oldest vets healthy for the postseason run.

The potential payoff is a legitimage spot on the short list of teams — Indiana, Chicago, New York — that could give Miami a run in the East next season. The Nets were clearly on the outside of that group before this agreement, and they likely still trail Indiana and Chicago in that pecking order, but their position is improved. The cost of three first-round picks could prove to be anywhere from incredible to inconsequential, depending on how the Williams/Johnson/Lopez core holds up. Should this year’s experiment fail, at least Brooklyn got out of the extra years of Wallace’s terrible contract, Pierce comes off the books and there’s always the possibility that Garnett decides to retire. In other words, the trade crimps the Nets hard in the short term but doesn’t really worsen their already bleak long-term financial outlook.

One interesting wrinkle to track: Which veterans will the Nets pick up on minimum deals in free agency with the assumed magnetic appeal that comes with their improved shot at contending? Add a couple of reliable, savvy reserves on the cheap to accompany this star-studded starting lineup and this will look even better.


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14 comments
Jay_Matrix
Jay_Matrix

the nets are already aiming at kyle korver

BathazarXavier
BathazarXavier

i don't think you can grade this trade until the end of brooklyn's season next year. if they win a championship it's obviously an A, but if they don't the best you can give them would be a C, especially if they miss out on some top tier talent in next year's draft and/or free agency. are they the yankees of the nba? time, and the next 100 games will tell.

knickfan
knickfan

What? The very same people who critized Allen for abandoning Boston are jumping ship?

PaulSharpe
PaulSharpe

Nonsense article...   To put Brooklyn only a "+" above Boston in this trade is ridiculous...   Those picks are likely going to be mediocre....   Also to say Brooklyn is behind Chicago is beyond stupid...

EasyGoer
EasyGoer

I'm looking forward to next season. The Nets could be in the mix but the standard remains Miami. If Brooklyn is still behind Indiana, the Knicks and Chicago, as this writer seems to think, then this deal is as bad as it gets.

marino.eccher
marino.eccher

"The Nets were clearly on the outside of that group before this agreement, and they likely still trail Indiana and Chicago in that pecking order, but their position is improved."

This is the bottom line, and I don't mean that in a good way. The Nets weren't close to the top of the mountain before the trade and they're not close after it. They're closer, sure, but if this doesn't even get them past the Bulls or Pacers -- and I don't see how it does -- how the heck is it going to get you past Miami? And if you're not getting past Miami, what was the point?

The Nets will be intriguing this year, but they basically doubled down on a pretty flawed core and sacrificed a good chunk of the future to do it. I'd be surprised if the 2018 pick doesn't turn out to be a good one for Boston.

Robert27
Robert27

Can the Celtics amnesty Wallace's contract if they choose to?

JonCBK
JonCBK

The starting lineup is impressive and folks will be surprised at the Nets bench as there is lots of potential there. Not to mention I agree with author that a lot of veterans will see a chance to be with a contender in a major market like New York as very very attractive. 

It will all be about not being greedy in the regular season. Coasting into the 4th seed with rested legs would be a fine finish. Every starter except Deron should be limited to 30 minutes on average, with Pierce and Garnett looking at more like 25 a game, with occasional nights completely off. 

Mark V.1
Mark V.1

That's a pretty formidable starting lineup, with everyone one of them capable of carry the load offensively for stretches.  But when you lean on guys that old, you kind of need a deep bench.  Plus, we have no idea how Kidd will fare as a coach.  The Nets could easily be great or terrible after these moves.

Bwell
Bwell

9 first round picks in the next 4 years. This has the ability to be the NBA version of the Herschel Walker deal.

doghockey
doghockey

@marino.eccher So why play for the future when the franchise has rarely ever had a present that was more than mediocre.  If nothing else, the off season moves will create some excitement about the team and put butts in the seats.  Other than a few elite franchises, most of these teams have to try to find lightning in a bottle when the opportunity arises.

BryanCustard
BryanCustard

@JonCBK they key to this whole thing will be if veterans will come play on minimum deals to fill out the roster. if they do this team could do great things, if they don't they are probably slightly ahead of chicago, but still behind indiana and miami

JonCBK
JonCBK

The roster doesn't need that much more. Terry is backup 1 and 2. Regime Evans is back up four. Tool, who dominated D league is back up three. If Blatche stays for the ring chance since he is getting enough money from Wizards then be is your back up Center. Do you need much more than that?