I can’t say it any simpler: today is a great day for the Brooklyn Nets.
According to multiple reports, with Yahoo! having reported first, the Nets are poised to acquire Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry from the Boston Celtics for their 2014, 2016, and 2018 first round picks, Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, Keith Bogans, Kris Joseph, and Reggie Evans. Some reports, led by SNY and ESPN, have reported the same deal, but with MarShon Brooks included, and Reggie Evans not included.
This is a great trade for the Nets, and the CBA bears that out. Here’s why.
Coming into next season prior to the trade, the Nets were over the salary cap for 2014, 2015, and 2016: at $84 million in 2014 they were over the cap and tax ($60 and $72 million), at $73 million in 2015 (likely over the tax), and $56 million in 2016 – 72 if Lopez opts in (likely close to the cap). This was the case with a playoff team in place.
This meant multiple things for the Nets, in building their team going forward.
First, the Nets could not rely on the draft to improve. As a playoff team picking in the 20s, the Nets were not going to pick sincere franchise changing talent through the draft: they just drafted Mason Plumlee who projects as a 15 minute reserve. Second, with no cap room over three seasons and in the tax, the best weapon in free agency for the Nets was their taxpayer midlevel exception of $3 million: that gets you reserves as well.
That leaves trades, and look at the Nets roster: most players make $3 million or less or double figure salaries and you have to match salaries under the CBA in trades. So to get a difference maker, the Nets had to trade a player making a double figure salary: that leaves Deron, Joe, Brook, Humphries, and Wallace – and had to trade that player for a more talented player on a similar salary.
And what did the Nets do? They took their 2 worst players from that group, Humphries and Wallace. Two players who had down seasons, and little upside to get better. And they traded them for Garnett and Pierce, two elite players despite their age who also expire after 2015, giving them more flexibility beyond 2015 than they had before the deal as Wallace has been dealt.
Yes, the Nets traded 3 draft picks in this deal. But the 2014 pick is not a big deal, as it will likely be in the 20’s. The Nets will have much of their current talent in 2016, keeping that pick in the 20s. MarShon Brooks? He was nearly traded for the 26 pick, is this really a huge throw in? The 2018 pick: could the Nets, “locked in” to this roster as many have said, pass up dealing Humphries and Wallace for Garnett and Pierce because of a pick being made five years from now?
In adding Garnett and Pierce, the Nets just dramatically upgraded a team for the next 2 seasons, that was already 49-33. And in a sense, they even help their future by opening up $10 million in cap space before 2015-2016 that they did not have before the deal. Once the Nets have cap space in 2016 they will be able to reload with a new crop of free agents, cap room, and a NY based franchise that has proven to the world that this is a place where players should want to play. Going all in on Garnett and Pierce only makes the Nets more attractive, and by reloading, the Nets ensure that their conveyed picks are in the 20s.
So, this trade? A huge win. A team “locked in” to their roster traded Humphries and Wallace for Garnett and Pierce, and potentially gave up, at worst, MarShon Brooks and 3 picks in the 20s. Be happy.