A Draft that was supposed to be about the stars of tomorrow became about the stars of today. In a stunning blockbuster move, the Nets stole the spotlight by acquiring Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry from the Celtics for three first round picks in 2014, 2016 and 2018. Rebuilding Boston also get Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Keith Bogans, Reggie Evans and Kris Joseph.
It’s the kind of trade that is hard to comprehend. Especially when it comes within the Atlantic between supposed rivals. While the Nets don’t have the appeal of the Knicks, they compete against the Celtics in the division. I’m not a proponent of trading future Hall Of Famers so close. Brooklyn gets proven All-Stars in KG and Pierce, who can bring a winning attitude and tons of experience to a Nets roster that underachieved. Their first round loss to an injury riddled Bulls was humiliating. Now they add championship caliber players who know what it takes. Terry also was a key part of the Mavericks’ NBA title. Even at their advanced age, those pieces alongside Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez should allow the Nets to compete with the Heat, Pacers and Knicks. The latter being their crosstown rival, which will make for compelling games at Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden.
On paper, it looks good. The Nets won’t have to rely on one or two guys. As long as everyone can push their ego aside under first-year coach Jason Kidd, it makes them better than the Knicks, who are too reliant on Carmelo Anthony. The Nets also still have MarShan Brooks and Tyshawn Taylor. C.J. Watson also has another year left on his deal and can be an outside threat. Andray Blatche is interested in re-signing for less, which probably increased following the big trade. Vets could also be interested in coming to Brooklyn for a bargain.
If there is a question, it’s whether there will be enough basketballs for Williams, Lopez, Pierce, Johnson and Garnett. They all need the rock. It has the potential to blow up. Especially with Kidd going straight from the court to the sidelines. One edge is he knows everyone well and should be able to communicate his message. For guys on the way out like KG and Pierce, it’s one last chance at glory. It’s going to be weird seeing these guys donning Nets jerseys. It’s almost sacrilege.
Blame Boston. They preferred to move them in the same conference rather than get it done with the Clippers where former coach Doc Rivers takes over for Vinny Del Negro. They did recoup a 2015 first round pick for him. Understandably, the Celts felt it was time to move on after one championship and consecutive Finals appearances. They were that close to beating LeBron James and the Heat last year. It was obvious that was their last hurrah. The injury to Rajon Rondo made them easy pickings for the Knicks. Rondo will be back and finally be looked upon as the Celtics leader. How will a guy with questionable character respond? Will he play like the best overall point guard in the league or pout? He’ll still have good pieces to set up in Jeff Green and Wallace. Green’s emergence bares watching. With the game’s best set up man, he could evolve into an All-Star. Wallace is a solid teammate who can help lead a rebuilding club that features Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger and first round pick Kelly Olynyk, who they traded up to get from Dallas.
The Celtics seem to be going about it the right way. All the No.1’s Danny Ainge acquired sets them up well for the future. Though it doesn’t look like they’ll be in the mix for potential franchise player Andrew Wiggins, who’ll play for Kansas this Fall. If he is one and done as many experts believe, Wiggins is projected to be the top overall pick next year. A dramatic change from the Cavs surprising by selecting Anthony Bennett over Nerlens Noel, who fell to the Pelicans at six before being dealt to the 76ers for Jrue Holliday and a second round pick. Bennett became the first Canadian to be drafted No.1 overall. Wiggins is also from Canada. So, it could be two straight years they go first.
One thing is sure. The NBA season can’t come soon enough. It should be a wild ride.