On July 10, it became official. The Boston Celtics traded away the faces of their franchise for what could be generously described as $0.25 on the dollar. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, who brought the city its most recent NBA title, are now playing for another team — in the same division, no less.
They, along with swingman Jason Terry, were traded to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for a has-been and a couple that never were. The list includes Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Keith Bogans and others barely worthy of a mention in this column. The Celtics also received three first-round picks, but with the Nets’ newfound strength, those picks will lay at the bottom of the first round.
The Nets are one of the favorites to win it all, and it’s easy to see why. They now boast a starting five that includes Brook Lopez, Garnett, Pierce, Joe Johnson and Deron Williams. When those studs need some rest, the likes of Terry and Andrei Kirilenko will come in and take over. They’re stacked.
Some may argue that they’re old, and they are, but Garnett and Pierce will be playing with a chip on their shoulders. They’re two of the most competitive athletes in the East, and they’ll be looking to make the Celtics rue the day this trade was made.
Speaking of that day, the Celtics made the trade in an attempt to rebuild the once proud franchise. From the outside looking in, it appears as though a youth movement has begun. Rajon Rondo and Brandon Bass now represent the old guard in Celtics green. For what it’s worth, Rondo may not actually be a Celtic when the season starts. He’s been the subject of trade rumors since the summer started, but as of right now, it’s Rondo and Bass, with 15 years of combined NBA experience, who’ll lead the Celtics into a new era.
The remaining Celtics starters — Kelly Olynyk, Jeff Green and Avery Bradley — possess a combined eight years of NBA experience. Olynyk is as gritty as they come, and Green’s playoff performance was off the charts, but these guys aren’t Garnett and Pierce and won’t ever be.
The Nets saw an opportunity to open their championship window, and they took it. They want to win now, and their $102.7 million payroll pays tribute to that. For the Nets in 2013, it’s an NBA championship or bust.
As for the Celtics, you just have to trust the process. After all, if you can’t trust the process of a franchise that owns 17 NBA championships, what can you trust?