For Brooklyn Nets fans, the story from draft night was not the draft itself, but a trade they made with the Boston Celtics to acquire two future hall-of-famers, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Sure, the Nets traded away some future young players in the deal, but they will be thankful that this trade was made. In this post, I will highlight the biggest reasons why this trade will be a success.
The “window” is not closing.
After this trade was made, some were saying that the Nets only have a window of 2 or maybe even 1 year to win a championship because the team is too old. This is just false. The team is not old. Sure, the three players the Nets added from Boston are all in their mid-to-late 30’s, but the rest of the team is still in their prime. Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez, Andray Blatche, and Reggie Evans are definitely not old.
Also, because next year’s Nets team will be more talented than Boston was last season, Brooklyn will be able to afford to REST Pierce and Garnett as much as they need to so they are ready for the playoffs, unlike the Celtics did last year. That will be huge.
The reason Brooklyn’s window may be closing is because Pierce’s contract only has one year remaining and Garnett has just two, but if things go well next year, expect Pierce to re-sign with Brooklyn.
Best top-to-bottom starting lineup in the NBA.
Who is the worst starter on next year’s Nets? Joe Johnson, a six-time all-star, who averaged 16 ppg last year? Paul Pierce, a 10-time all-star, who averaged 19 ppg last year? The lineup has no weaknesses. Who can defenses double-team? Everybody is a good shooter including Brook Lopez and Kevin Garnett, who will be back to playing his natural position of power forward after he played center in Boston the last couple of years. And then on defense, the team should be much greater led by Garnett’s toughness and high expectations of his teammates.
And for those who think the bench will be bad, the Nets expect Andray Blatche back, who was great for the team last year. They’ve also added Jason Terry from Boston, who should be better this year in a smaller role. Plus, Brooklyn will likely add either Bojan Bogdanovic from Europe or Kyle Korver, both great shooters. Last, but not least, Reggie Evans will be back, but in a smaller role so that he won’t be expected to play 30 minutes a night.
They won’t be last year’s Lakers.
Last season’s Los Angeles Lakers were one of the most disappointing teams in NBA history. Despite adding Dwight Howard, the supposed best center in the universe, the team barely made the playoffs and was distracted all season long.
That will not happen with the Nets next season. Led by Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, this team will not be distracted. There are too many veterans on this team for something like that to happen even though they will have many superstars.
Less pressure on Jason Kidd.
This is the perfect situation for a first-year head coach. Kidd is very familiar with all the players on his team, as well as many of the coaches on his staff. With all the veterans in the locker room, this team will be focused every night and will not need to be baby-sitted by the coaches. Jason Kidd will be able to focus only on basketball, which is what you want from your head coach. He should feel very happy that this trade was made.
The Nets don’t need draft picks. Players want to come to Brooklyn.
One of the criticisms of this trade was people saying the Nets were trading away their future. It’s true, we don’t know where in the draft the Nets will be picking in 2016 or 2018, but it’s safe to say that if Mikhail Prokhorov is still the owner, that it will not be in the lottery. The great thing about having money and playing in New York City in the Barclays Center is that you will always be able to attract the best free agents. So even though Garnett and Pierce will both be retired long before 2018, having the chance to win this championship this season was worth losing the draft picks.
Getting rid of bad contracts.
Unbelievably, the Nets were able to trade Gerald Wallace’s supposedly untradable contract. Yes, they did take back Jason Terry’s contract, but it is for about half as much money and is a year shorter. This is good for the Nets because it means that in 2015, they will be able to sign a free agent for at least $10 million more than they would have if they still had Gerald Wallace. We thought the Nets would probably not be able to add any new core players until 2016. Now, they will able to do that a whole year earlier.
Core is still in place.
Despite getting two of the premiere players in the NBA, the Nets did not break up their core of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez. Teams always play better in the second year of playing together when they know each other more, and that should be the case for next season’s Nets.
Since Prokhorov took over, this team’s goal has always been to win a championship. Now that goal is finally reachable and possible. Brooklyn’s first championship since 1955 could be arriving 2014.