Privately, some people inside the Nets organization will tell you the 2013 Boston trade was a "huge mistake," in one person's words. It cost the Nets three first rounders as well as a swap of picks. Neither Paul Pierce nor Kevin Garnett performed up to expectations or are even with the team.
Billy King is not one of those calling the trade a mistake. He has always said that at the time he and ownership thought the deal was worth going for it. Now, what's done is done and there's no value in looking back.
"We all made the decision to go for it," King told Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald in a lengthy interivew Wednesday night. "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."
He also says that the Nets did in fact benefit from the deal in intangible ways.
"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. Of course, the Nets best games last season came after King dealt KG for Thaddeus Young.
"If we hadn’t had injuries, could we have won more? Possibly," said King. "And then the picks (that went to the Celtics) . . . you know, I look at it like, there’s nothing that can be done about them. So now we’re focusing on trying to gain younger assets, as we did this year. And we’ll keep doing that. It’s something similar to what I did in Philadelphia, where we gave up a lot of picks early to get to The Finals. Then after that we started retooling and drafting second-round picks like Kyle Korver. You’ve just got to take what you have and work with it."
King told Bulpett it's now about the future for the Nets, not the value of the picks given up in 2014 (James Young), 2016 and 2018 as well as the swap of picks in 2017.
"I think you look at it, but I don’t dwell on it because you can’t," King said. "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 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?"
In the meantime, he says, the Nets are preparing for this year's draft like they always do, with scouts traversing the country (although the Nets haven't announced a replacement for T.J. Zanin, one of their four scouts). Bottom line for the organization right now is to hope this season is the worst that they'll be, that it will get better. We shall see.
- Bulpett: Nets' Billy King deals with trade loss - Steve Bulpett - Boston Herald