Nets picks "not of overwhelming value" in Love trade talks

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Ever since the big trade last Draft Night, there's been almost unanimous agreement among pundits that the Nets had "mortgaged their future" by trading their first round draft picks in 2014, 2016 and 2018 and agreeing to swap first rounders in 2017 in return for Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett ... and Jason Terry.

Worse, noted Bill Simmons in particular, they weren't protected!!! (actually, there was somewhat of a protection on the 2014 pick, but we'll talk about that later.)

No doubt it was a risk, as was agreeing to swap first rounders in 2014 and 2015 as part of the Joe Johnson deal.

Now, however, there's been some revisionist thinking. The first swap, with Atlanta this year, doesn't matter.  First of all, the Nets traded the 2014 pick to Boston so if the Nets had finished with a higher pick, the Celtics would have lost out since they would have had to carry out the swap with the Hawks. (thus, sort of a protection). Even if the Nets had lottery-protected the 2014 pick, it wouldn't have mattered. The pick was three spots outside the lottery. So there's that.

Now comes word that the Nets picks don't have as much trade value as the Celtics thought. They're offering at least one and maybe more to the Timberwolves for Kevin Love.  Here's how Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald described the situation.

At present, however, what the Celtics have to offer isn’t getting it done. According to a source, the first-round picks they own from the Nets are not seen as being of overwhelming value, and, where the Celts had an Al Jefferson to offer Minnesota for Kevin Garnett six years ago, neither Jared Sullinger nor Kelly Olynyk rises to that level in the Wolves' eyes this time around.

"Not seen as being of overwhelming value!?" How could that be?! After everything we've been told?! Here's the apparent logic: the Nets ownership is likely to spend to win over the long term and that means those picks are unlikely to be lottery picks.  The 2014 pick will be No. 17, a nice pick that might even yield a rotation player in a great draft. But as a big piece in a trade for an All-Star? Apparently not happening.  The other two picks, particularly the one four years from now, are very much pie-in-the-sky.

Bulpett, in a later story, suggested the Nets picks could be more valuable in a few years.

But adding and developing players from this and later drafts when the first-round picks from the Nets could be even more valuable might be the best option if Ainge cannot find worthy dance partners for a trade that would bring more immediate help.

Of course, the Celtics or whoever owns the picks, could strike it rich. Pierce and Garnett could leave. The Nets could collapse like the Knicks, leaving a trail littered with lost or squandered picks. But as of now, rival GMs don't seem to think the Nets picks are going to be that valuable. Who knew?

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