Thursday, June 27, 2013
Rapid Reation: Nets land Pierce and KG
By Mike Mazzeo
NEW YORK -- The Brooklyn Nets are going all-in to win the NBA title.
The Nets on Thursday agreed in principle to a blockbuster trade with the Celtics in which they'll receive Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry.
The Celtics will receive Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks, Kris Joseph and three first-round picks (2014, 2016, 2018).
The trade can't officially be consummated until July 10, when the annual league-wide moratorium on signings and trades is lifted.
WHAT IT MEANS: The Nets just became one of the most formidable teams in the NBA. Their projected starting lineup has a combined 35 All-Star selections: Garnett (15), Pierce (10), Joe Johnson (6), Deron Williams (3) and Brook Lopez (1). Throw in rookie head coach Jason Kidd, and it's 45. The Miami Heat are still the team to beat in the Eastern Conference, but the Nets just might be able to knock them off.
REMEMBER WHEN: The Nets lost 70 games in 2009-10. They were the laughingstock of the league. But after going through a three-year rebuilding process, they moved to Brooklyn and won 49 games last season. They're even better now, and well-positioned to possibly fulfill owner Mikhail Prokhorov's five-year championship plan in Year 4. Remember when Prokhorov said before the playoffs that the Nets were a player and patience away from being in the company of the upper-echelon teams? Well, they just added two future Hall of Famers.
CITY BRAGGING RIGHTS: The Nets may not have the history and the fan base of the Knicks, but they may be better positioned to win a title. They are now a team full of stars with a star coach on the bench. Prokhorov has to love this. And the Knicks have to hate it.
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY! The Nets' payroll this season is going to be through the roof. Johnson is due $21.5 million in 2013-14; Williams $18.5 million; Lopez $14.7 million; Pierce $15.3 million and Garnett $12.4 million. That's $82.4 million committed to their starting lineup alone! Good thing Prokhorov is a multibillionaire.
LEADERSHIP AND TOUGHNESS: The Nets were lacking in these areas last season. Suffice to say Garnett and Pierce bring them in abundance.
WHAT THEY LOST: Not much in terms of talent. Wallace and Humphries had down years. The future first-round picks might come back to haunt the Nets, but again, they're in win-now mode.
WIN-NOW TIME: Look at these ages: KG (37), Pierce (35), Terry (35), Johnson (31), Williams (29), Lopez (25). The Nets are clearly built to win now. Their window is going to be a short one.