There’s no way to get around how crippling the Nets trade for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce has been for the franchise. And Tuesday night, at the Hilton Hotel on Sixth Avenue and 53rd Street in Manhattan could be its climax.
As we noted in our latest Off-Season Report, the effect of the trade has been softened (somewhat) by Boston taking a bust (James Young) with the Nets 2014 pick. Some deft shuffling also permitted the Nets to get a 2016 first round pick back ... and turn it into Caris LeVert. As for the 2018 pick, we can only hope that the Nets do well enough next season to limit the damage of that loss.
There is, however, no way to get beyond the reality of a swap of a top four pick for the 27th pick. What the front office and fans thought was the least offensive element in the Boston deal, a swap of first rounders in the 2017 Draft, may turn out to be most devastating.
Still, it should be noted that the Nets are slowly rebuilding their stash of picks (and in the meantime, trying to find “draft-equivalents,” young underrated, under-appreciated and under-developed players). But only a miracle will help the Nets compensate for the dreaded swap.
We have seen on Twitter all manner of fans suggesting the Nets have NO first round picks. Not true. So, to help you deal with your buddies who claim the Nets have “no picks,” here is a summary of what the Nets have going forward ... and what they don’t.
2017 - Two first rounders at No. 22 (the Wizards pick acquired in the Bojan Bogdanovic trade) and No. 27 (the swapped Boston pick) and one second rounder (the other compensation in the swap, Boston’s pick). The Nets second round pick goes to the Hawks, the final payment of the Joe Johnson trade.
2018 - No first rounders and at this point, no second rounder either. The 2018 first rounder goes to Boston. The second rounder goes to the 76ers or Hornets. The Nets swapped picks with Philly as part of the 2014 salary dump that sent Jorge Gutierrez and Andrei Kirilenko to the 76ers. They traded their swap rights to the Hornets as part of the 2015 Draft Night deal that won them the rights to Juan Pablo Vaulet.
The Nets could wind up with a high second rounder. As part of the Thaddeus Young trade, the Nets received a protected second rounder from the Pacers. If the Pacers, who are looking to rebuild, finish outside the playoffs at any time between now and 2022, the Nets get their pick. In 2023, if the pick still hasn’t transferred, the protection is removed.
2019 - The Nets have their own unencumbered first round pick for the first time since 2013. (The 2014 pick went to the Celtics, the 2015 pick was swapped with the Hawks, the 2016 pick went to the Celtics, the 2017 pick was swapped with the Celtics, the 2018 pick goes to the Celtics). The Nets second round pick was also sent to the Hornets for Vaulet in 2015. The Hornets have since traded it to the Grizzlies.
2020 - The Nets have their own first round pick. The Nets second round pick goes to the 76ers as the final payment of the 2014 Gutierrez-Kirilenko salary dump.
2021 - The Nets have their own first and second round picks. If they keep both, it will be the first time since 2010 that they will go into a draft with their own picks in the first and second round. That’s 11 years.
Of course, the Nets have a history of buying picks, using nearly $10 million of Mikhail Prokhorov cash to buy second round picks, eight players over the seven years he’s owned the club. Only one of the eight players acquired, Isaiah Whitehead, remains with the team. He cost the Nets the 55th pick in the draft plus $3 million last year. The Nets still hold the rights to Vaulet, who cost them $880,000 and two second round picks in 2015. It appears he is out for the remainder of the Liga Nacional season in Argentina with swelling of his surgically repaired ankle.
The Draft Lottery will take place at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. Hang in there.