On June 28 2013, the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics executed a blockbuster trade. The Celtics parted with two-thirds of their Big 3 that won an NBA championship and took the franchise to another Finals. At the time, the Nets were trying to make a bold push into the NBA’s elite and challenge LeBron James and the Miami Heat. Here was the breakdown of the deal:
Brooklyn received: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry, D.J. White
Boston received: Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Marshon Brooks, Kris Joseph, Keith Bogans, 2014 1st round pick, 2016 1st round pick, 2018 1st round pick, and the right to swap 2017 1st round picks
While none of those players were a king’s ransom that Boston got back from Brooklyn, it was all about those draft picks. And although Celtics fans have had to be patient, it has led to an unbelievable bounty of riches. For the Nets… not so much. Pierce lasted one year in Brooklyn before signing with the Wizards, Garnett made it through a season and a half before being traded to the T’Wolves. Their one run together in the 2013-2014 season resulted in a five game series defeat to the Heat in the conference semifinals. The next year the Nets lost in the first round of the playoffs as the #8 seed. The last two seasons, they’ve registered 41 combined wins.
The Nets went all-in for one season and then plummeted down the standings. And to the genius of Danny Ainge, that fall also just so happens to coincide with when they traded their picks away to Boston. D’oh!
With those picks, Boston has added James Young in 2014 with the #17 pick, Jaylen Brown in 2016 with the #3 pick, and likely Markelle Fultz with the #1 pick this year. And then there’s next year’s first rounder as well, which is 99.999999% likely to be in the lottery once again.
Considering how little return the Nets got out of Pierce and Garnett and how the Celtics have built an incredible foundation of young players for the present and future, it’s turned out to be an incredibly lopsided deal. If it’s not the worst trade in NBA history, it’s certainly the most short-sighted.
So let’s recount some Freezing Cold Takes for how the Nets fleeced the Celtics back in 2013…
— Adam Schein (@AdamSchein) June 28, 2013
— ESPN New York (@ESPNNewYork) June 28, 2013
All though I think Celtics did very well in trade, Nets got 2 best players and got rid of worst contract in deal as @TommyBeer tweeted
— David Amoyal (@DavidAmoyal) June 28, 2013
Yep, Celtics fans are really crying now with their team in the Conference Finals and being owners of the #1 pick in the draft…
Celtics Fans Today pic.twitter.com/NiGyzFraqe
— Terez Owens (@TerezOwens) June 28, 2013
Is it too late to get back on the bandwagon, Celtics fans?
Well, I am no longer down with the Celtics-this trade has forced me to jump ship LOL
— IG: @TamiRoman (@TamiRoman) June 28, 2013
Highway robbery! Crappy late first rounders!
Brooklyn just highway robbed the Celtics.
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) June 28, 2013
What are the Celtics going to do with all of these crappy late 1st round picks in the coming years?
— Adam Klug (@Adam_Klug) June 28, 2013
So, the Celtics stopped laughing at the Lakers, today…..
— Jamal Anderson (@jamthedirtybird) June 28, 2013
The way this night has gone, Antoine Walker might well end up the Celtics coach.
— Leigh Ellis (@LeighEllis) June 28, 2013
The Celtics just gave up on their whole organization
— Cam Kirk ? (@TheCamKirk) June 28, 2013
The Nets are much better today than they were yesterday. Can really challenge in the East. Right there now. IMO, worth the price.
— John Schmeelk (@Schmeelk) June 28, 2013
— Bruce Beck (@BruceBeck4NY) June 28, 2013
If the BK NETS get Paul n Garnett they will be one of best team in the east if not the best ?
— Gary Ervin (@G_erv3) June 27, 2013
Finally, even Boston superfan Bill Simmons couldn’t see the bigger picture…
— Freezing Cold Takes (@OldTakesExposed) May 16, 2017
To be fair, here is Simmons’ explanation a day later…
Found out Boston can swap 1st round picks with Brooklyn in 2017 as part of that mega-deal. I might talk myself into this trade by July 4th.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) June 28, 2013