Danny Ainge didn’t just win the 2013 trade that sent Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets.
The Boston Celtics president of basketball operations walloped the Nets, stifling any hope of a future for Brooklyn while owning what should amount to very valuable first-round draft picks for years to come.
Brooklyn mortgaged its future for a short-term bet on injured, aging superstars. It was, by all accounts, a terrible trade.
Well, all accounts but the team’s general manager, Billy King, who defends the deal to this day.
“We all made the decision to go for it,” King told the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett on Wednesday. “We made a decision, and at that point we felt it was the best decision. And now we’re headed in a different direction. I don’t think you can sit there and say, ‘What if?’ You make a decision and you move on. That’s how we did it. You make the decision, and then you adjust and you move on as you have to.
Given the team’s rapid demise and current floundering rebuild, has Brooklyn’s front office taken heed of the fallout?
“I think you look at it, but I don’t dwell on it because you can’t,” King added. “I mean, I’ve got to focus on what we have to do right now. I’m looking at it like, OK, how do we get (2015 first-round pick) Chris McCullough ready for next season? If we don’t have a first(-round pick), how do we get a second? How do we get another first? And we have $39 million in cap space. What are we going to do with it this summer?”
Ultimately, King explained, despite Pierce and Garnett’s short tenures, what the Nets gained from the trade outweighs the loss of those picks.
“What they brought in culture and character, with Paul for one year and KG for a year and three quarters, is something that will help this franchise down the road for a long time,” he said.
There’s a lot to be said about culture and character. The Celtics will enjoy building that character-filled culture with all the draft picks it received from Brooklyn for years to come.
Thumbnail photo via Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports Images
Kevin Garnett shares a laugh with Paul Pierce on the court
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