The Boston Celtics fleeced the Brooklyn Nets in the teams’ infamous 2013 trade, but the deal originally only was going to feature one NBA legend.
According to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, the Nets initially head their eyes set on just Paul Pierce — not Kevin Garnett.
“The first deal negotiated with the Celtics was just for Pierce, and the Nets only had to give up one draft pick, Kris Humphries and MarShon Brooks,” Bondy writes. “But then Doc Rivers left the Celtics for the Clippers, and Garnett came into focus because there was nothing left for him in Boston.”
And while Brooklyn ultimately persuaded Garnett to come aboard, the addition of KG in the deal proved to be costly for the Nets in the end.
“Still, the trade nearly fell apart anyway because Garnett resisted waiving his no-trade clause,” Bondy writes. “Although the parameters had been agreed upon early in the day, Garnett didn’t consent until near the end of the first round of the draft — and only after being convinced by Pierce and Kidd in phone conversations. Garnett’s inclusion turned out to be the killer for the Nets. If it were just for Pierce, they’d have given up one draft pick and spare parts.”
Once the deal was completed, the Celtics brought in a haul which included three first-round picks. One of which turned into the N0. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, which Boston reportedly will ship to the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday.
The transaction was a head-scratcher when it took place, and now looks even worse in hindsight. Brooklyn apparently was blinded by the star power of Pierce and Garnett at the time of the deal, as a source told Bondy in a passage that includes a NSFW warning for explicit language.
“The arrogance in the room was that we were going to roll, we were going to win these next couple of years,” said former Nets staff member told Bondy. “Maybe not the championship, but we were going to win the next couple of years and have sustainable success. We were going to keep signing free agents. We were always going to draft between 20 and 30. So if we’re going to swap with the Celtics, who gives a f–k? That definitely was the thought.”
It’s safe to say the Nets were very, very wrong with this projection.
Thumbnail photo via Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports Images