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Looking backward at THE Trade ... and Looking forward, too (Ugh)

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Not to put too fine a point on it, but the Nets, Celtics ... and ESPN... will never stop talking about "The" Trade. It is danger of joining the Herschel Walker-to-Minnesota deal as a milestone in the annals of bad deals.

Here's a summary of the latest, from ESPN.

A lot of 2016 picks that have been traded. More than most years and more that could be valuable.  Kevin Pelton, writing for ESPN Insider, uses a metric to come up with a ranking of which picks are likely to be the most valuable. He ranks the top 15, from most to least valuable.  No surprise which one is at the top of the list, the unprotected Nets pick traded to the Celtics in the Boston trade of 2013.

There are few 2016 picks more valuable than Brooklyn's, traded or otherwise.

When the Nets moved this unprotected pick (and several other picks!) to Boston for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry, little did they realize Brooklyn would become nearly the NBA's worst team within three seasons.

The Nets have underachieved so far, even compared to their already low preseason expectations, and their minus-7.7 differential is the league's third-worst. As a result, BPI gives only the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers better chances at landing the top overall pick and suggests Brooklyn is most likely to land the fourth pick.

A note of caution to Celtics fans drooling about the possibility of drafting Ben Simmons or Skal Labissiere: One factor BPI can't take into account is motivation, and other teams will have more incentive than the Nets to shut players down and lose games late in the season. Boston can't count on Brooklyn tanking as a team with its own pick might -- like, say, the 1996-97 and 2006-07 Celtics.

Next most valuable? The Knicks pick traded to Toronto for Andrea Bargnani.

Pelton's piece was one of several ESPN did this weekend on the Boston trade, as the Celtics try to drive the Nets deeper in the lottery.  In a roundtable on the deal, Brian Windhorst gives both sides on the trade, offering this from the Nets perspective... but noting that the Nets were bidding against themselves and no one else back in June 2013.

"Here's what the Nets would say. They say, 'Listen, we had a very good team that year, went to the second round of the playoffs. We traded Kevin Garnett for Thaddeus Young who is still helping us win. The two picks they've given up so far have turned into Kelly Oubre (the swap with the Hawks) and James Young. Those are difference-making players. BUT now is when the first time it's going to hurt."

Meanwhile, the ESPN beat writers for the Nets, Mike Mazzeo, and Celtics, Chris Forsberg, engage in a lengthy back-and-forth on where the teams they cover stand two years, four months and 23 days since the trade went down (but hey's who's counting?)

Mazzeo tries to be somewhat optimistic -- the exchange came before last night's game -- but the best he can come up with is that the Nets have a "nice foundation."

It stands to reason that with Lopez, Young and the uber-athletic Hollis-Jefferson forming a nice foundation, if the Nets could somehow upgrade at point guard (yes, Jack and backup Shane Larkin have played more than admirably, but still ...) they would potentially get themselves into the bottom of the East playoff mix, and those picks headed to Boston wouldn't look so bad.

But at this point, it looks very, very bad.