In Brooklyn, they're lamenting last year's trade with the Boston Celtics, with the word "mistake" being uttered privately if not publicly. But on the eve of the big press conference in Brooklyn, the Celtics are looking at what they accomplished and feeling quite good about it all.
"I’ll let you guys assess all of that stuff," Celtics GM Danny Ainge said last week at Orlando Summer League, somehow suppressing a smile when asked about the trade. "It doesn’t matter to me. We’re just trying to get better, but we were able to acquire a lot of assets in that trade."
And it is the gift that keeps on giving. Last July, after waiting for paperwork and deadlines, the two teams officially announced the deal: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry and D.J. White for Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, a signed-and-traded Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks and Kris Joseph plus unprotected first round picks in 2014 (which has now turned into Kentucky swingman James Young), 2016 and 2018, plus the rights to swap picks in 2017, which if it happens will trigger the Nets acquisition of a Celtic second rounder. Whew!
The deal was also constructed so that Boston received a $10.3 million trade exception which permitted them to add Marcus Thornton and Tyler Zeller in last week's three-way deal with the Nets and Cavs, all in return for a protected second rounder Cleveland sent to Boston.
And they may not be done yet. The Celtics are signing Humphries and trading him to the Wizards in return for a second rounder and and another trade exception worth more than $3 million. They also still have Bogans' MLE non-guaranteed deal they can turn into assets.
At the time, the deal was seen by most as favoring the Nets, but with the accompanying risk that Pierce and Garnett would decline rapidly. That happened and the Nets have let Pierce go. The Celtics were building toward the future and, truth be told, were looking for ways to dump Pierce rather than have to waive him in a matter of days.
Now, as Boston writers and Andy Vasquez point out Thursday, there would be few Nets officials echoing what Mikhail Prokhorov said at the press conference introducing Pierce, Garnett and Terry, that the basketball gods had shone on Brooklyn.
All is not lost. The Nets, too, are getting some value late out of the trade, using Terry -- and Reggie Evans -- last season to get Marcus Thornton who was swapped along with long forgotten European draft rights last week for Jarrett Jack and Sergey Karasev in the three-team deal.
And the Nets are still willing to use Prokhorov's wallet to compensate for mistakes. For example, will James Young be better than Bojan Bogdanovic, who the Nets bought for $1.5 million in 2011? One thing is for sure. No one will be able to give a full accounting of this deal for another four or five years. But Danny Ainge isn't calling it a mistake.
NBA: Nets' 2013 moves not looking so good now - Andy Vasquez - The Record