Despite Cleveland’s stunning choice to select Anthony Bennett as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, the headline of the night had nothing to do with the draft.
The word that a proposed trade between the Boston Celtics and the Brooklyn Nets that would send Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Nets in exchange for Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Kris Joseph, MarShon Brooks, Keith Bogans and three future first-round draft picks stole the spotlight inside the Barclays Center.
The move, which cannot be made official until July 10th, has Jay-Z and his basketball clan excited about the potential to bring an NBA championship to Brooklyn. Meanwhile, in Boston, die-hard Celtics fans are weeping over the harsh reality that the past is over and the rebuilding process has now begun.
But to those who believe this move was a blockbuster deal and instantly think this catapults Brooklyn as the second-best team in the Eastern Conference behind the Miami Heat, don’t go buying any “Brooklyn Nets World Champions” t-shirts. In fact, be cautious of the knee-jerk reaction the purchase season tickets.
The only reason some consider this trade monumental is because Pierce was thought to be a Celtics lifer, and most assumed Garnett would retire with the team that he helped lead to a championship.
On the basketball side of things, this move doesn’t make Brooklyn that much better. Sorry, Jay, but this is one album that doesn’t interest me.
While Pierce is still an effective player at times in the league, he is an aging talent (35 years old) who has lost his ability to take control of games. Last season he average just 18.6 points per game, his third lowest average since entering the NBA in 1998.
Garnett is a 17-year veteran whose basic role came as a team motivator during the past few seasons. Because of his work-ethic, Garnett has been able to stay relevant in the league, but his time is running out.
If this were a video game and age, fatigue and stamina wasn’t part of the equation, this would be an excellent move for the Nets. Hell, it might even be enough to dethrone the Heat in virtual reality.
But this isn’t a video game and it’s a bold move to depend on two guys who are closer to drinking Ensure after practice than becoming effective players on a new team, under a new coach, in a new system. As we saw in Miami, big moves with big-name guys typically take time to work out. There isn’t a magic wand you can wave over the Nets organization to create team chemistry. Trusting your teammates is a process that takes time. The clock is ticking for Garnett, Pierce and their new teammates.
Most fans will say that Brooklyn received the better end of this deal, and on paper, I agree with that. But don’t think this team is going to be ready for a championship run this season, or ever. By the time Jason Kidd introduces his system, teammates start trusting each other and Brooklyn starts looking like a potential threat to the NBA title, Pierce and Garnett will be sitting on the bench, icing down their tired knees.