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A discourse on the swap of picks

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Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Hawk fans, and apparently their front office, along with pundits, are all excited about the upcoming swap of picks between the Nets and the Hawks. It's the next to last element of the July 2012 trade that brought the Nets Joe Johnson, and his humongous contract, the last being a second rounder in 2017.

Right now, that swap would be the 16th pick for the 29th pick. In mock draft terms, that's Jerian Grant of Notre Dame for George Lucas de Paula of Brazil, according to Draft Express, or Myles Turner for Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, according to NBADraft.net . Of course, if the Nets fade and fall into the lottery, it could be a LOT worse.

But really. People forget that this is the ONLY real asset the Hawks got from the trade, other than cap space, which didn't come out of the Nets coffers.

Here’s a breakdown of the deal and what each side got, as of now.

The players the Hawks received: Jordan Farmar (immediately bought out, currently not in the league), Jordan Williams (immediately bought out, not in the league), Johan Petro (not re-signed, not in the league); DeShawn Stevenson (signed-and-traded, waived, not in the league), and Anthony Morrow ( traded to the Mavericks for Dahntay Jones, who they didn’t resign).

The picks the Hawks received: a first rounder in 2013 that the Nets had acquired from the Rockets in the Terrence Williams deal. The Hawks used it to take Shane Larkin whose rights they immediately traded for Jared Cunningham (waived, not in the league), rights to Lucas Nogueira (who never played for them and was dealt as trade ballast to Toronto) and the rights to Mike Muscala (who remains on their roster and is averaging a little more than four points a game). The Nets second rounder in 2017, which the NBA required Brooklyn give up because of some CBA issue.

The draft pick swaps the Hawks received: swaps of first rounders in 2014 and 2015, the first of which didn't materialize because the Hawks had a higher pick than the Nets (and because the Nets dealt their rights to the pick to the Celtics as part of the Kevin Garnett - Paul Pierce trade).

In return for all that, the Nets got a six-time all-star who was an all-star yet again last season and was the NBA’s best clutch player last season. He's also been one of the its most durable players over the last decade, piling up the second most minutes, regular season and playoffs, in that span. Only LeBron James has played more. He's averaged nearly 16 points a game as Net, shot around 38 percent from deep and has been a great character guy.

Don't take this as a defense of the details of the trade nor of the strategy of using unprotected picks and swaps to acquire older players.  We don't know if the Nets could have avoided giving up the swaps or whether the Nets asked for a pick, as some have suggested they should have. We don’t know why either side failed to disclose the swaps when the deal went down, leaving it to us to reveal six months later. And as we noted above, if the Nets fall into the lottery, it could be a lot worse, a true horror show on May 19.

Moreover, the Hawks used their cap space well, mostly (and smartly) on their own players, resulting in a great season, their best season ever maybe.  But if a swap of first round picks three years after the trade is the best asset the Nets gave up, is that really such a bad thing, considering what they got in return?