So Facebook reminded me that today marks the 5 year anniversary of the Celtics-Nets trade of Paul Pierce and KG for a BOATLOAD of draft picks. At the time I was a young’n living in Allston still holding onto the heyday of the Celtics. Hell, that 2012 NBA playoffs commercial for the Celtics is still my favorite NBA commercial to this day.
Young, athletic teams are exciting, but in my opinion nothing is more fun to watch than the old, proud, savvy veterans making a last stand.
I still vividly remember when the trade was first announced on ESPN because I was sitting at White Horse crushing some $2 Coors Lights. At the time I was pretty bummed because I loved Paul Pierce and KG is my favorite Celtic of all time. Cue the Facebook memory!
This was the best Celtics squad of my lifetime finally broken up, and probably a couple of years too late. But don’t tell that to former Nets GM Billy King, who was more than willing to pay top dollar for guys entering their age-36 and age-37 seasons in Pierce and Garnett.
Just look at the fucking quotes from King and former Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov.
“Honestly, did I think we could pull something like this off? No,” Nets general manager Billy King said during a Friday conference call. “… But (Celtics GM) Danny (Ainge) and I just kept working at it and got to the point where we both were comfortable.”
“Today, the basketball gods smiled on the Nets,” team owner Mikhail Prokhorov said in a statement. “With the arrival of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, we have achieved a great balance on our roster between veteran stars and young talents. This team will be dazzling to watch and tough to compete against.”
Laugh out loud funny looking back.
Obviously that trade has been roasted in the years since and while it seemed like an overpay at the time, it wasn’t completely outlandish. People, Sports Illustrated included, thought the Nets were going to be awesome.
So the thinking was, “welp whats a few late first round picks?”
As we joked on the podcast the other day, the Celtics drafting this year at No. 27 overall is house money — just draft an absolute scrub or roll the dice on an asshole. Late first rounders in the NBA are rarely game changers.
Except, as we all know, the Nets experiment bombed miserably. Historically bad. I joke with my buddy who is a Nets fan that this is going to be the greatest 30 for 30 ever.
For the price of FOUR first round picks the Nets got 75 games out of Paul Pierce and 96 games out of KG. In those two years the Nets went 44-38 and 38-44.
The Nets then blew it up and proceeded to go:
- 21-61 (2015-16)
- 20-62 (2016-17)
- 28-54 (2017-18)
Holy. Shit. What a bad deal.
Meanwhile, with those Nets picks the Celtics went on to draft and/or acquire via trade:
- James Young – No. 17 overall (2014)
- Jaylen Brown – No. 3 overall (2016)
- Jayson Tatum – No. 1 overall (2017) *Celtics traded down to No. 3 to take Tatum and in the process picked up the following piece below
- Kings 2019 1st round pick
- Kyrie Irving – via trade of the Nets’ No. 8 overall pick, Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and a second round pick
So we actually get one more bite at the apple due to Danny’s draft day trade last year. As long as the Kings don’t get the No. 1 overall pick it goes to the Celtics and that will officially wrap up this debacle of a Nets trade.
Thanks again to Mikhail, Jay-Z, Billy King, and the borough of Brooklyn for fast tracking the Celtics rebuild and putting us back on the brink of the NBA Finals in just 5 years! If Jayson Tatum becomes the 1st-Team All-NBA player like I think he will then Nets fans probably have no choice but to become full blown Celtics fans. I mean when you think about it, this is basically the Bizarro Nets. God its good to be a Boston fan.
PS – Oh yea, Jason Terry was part of that deal too, but the Jet only played one season with the Nets as well. Terry is *still* playing by the way as he just wrapped up his 18th season with the Bucks.
Double PS – Lets go back and look at some of the reactions to this trade when it was announced because with hindsight being 20/20 these are some of the worst takes you’ll ever see.