June 28, 2013 is a date which will live in infamy for Brooklyn Nets fans, but it positioned the Boston Celtics for a bright future.
The New York Daily News’ Stefan Bondy on Sunday revisited the 2013 trade in which Brooklyn acquired Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and two other Celtics in exchange for three first-round picks (in 2014, 2016 and 2018), the right to swap first-round picks in 2017 and five Nets players.
Through a series of interviews with many involved in the decision, Bondy reveals how Nets’ owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s desire to field a star-studded and competitive team for their first season in Brooklyn prompted executives to make the ill-fated deal. Bondy also details how Brooklyn had intended to acquire only Pierce, but the owner’s plan snowballed into including Garnett and his mammoth salary, while the Nets were unable to protect picks due to new NBA rules.
Meanwhile, Celtics president Danny Ainge knew former Nets’ general manager Billy King’s mindset very well and was willing to accept Brooklyn’s future assets and rebuild under new head coach Brad Stevens.
The Nets’ master plan began to unravel within a year of the trade, and picks Brooklyn traded under the expectation they’d come late in the first round rocketed up the draft board.
The Celtics are sitting pretty in 2017, having won this year’s NBA Draft Lottery and reportedly agreed to trade the No. 1 overall pick for the No. 3 selection and, you guessed it, future draft picks.
Check out Bondy’s stellar piece and remember to drive (your franchise) slowly.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images