Last night’s blockbuster trade between the Boston Celtics and the Brooklyn Nets is strange for several reasons.
First, here are the proposed terms:
Nets get: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry
Celtics get: Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, Kris Joseph, and three 1st-round picks (2014, 2016, and 2018)
On the surface, it’s a rebuilding trade for the Celtics. But the two things teams typically want in a rebuilding trade — salary cap relief and young prospects — aren’t anywhere to be found in this deal.
Boston does get some cap room, but not the type of room that could make them players on the free agent market immediately. The trade saves them $8.6 million in 2013-14 and $7.3 million in 2014-15, but they’re actually taking on $10.1 million in salary in 2015-16 in this trade.
The Celtics aren’t getting any coveted players here either. Brooks couldn’t get on the court last year. Joseph is a throwaway. Humphries is an expiring contract who will probably be gone after next season.
Worst of all, Wallace looked washed up last year and has one of the worst contract in the NBA ($30.3 million over three years).
So if they aren’t cleaning their cap sheet or getting any promising young players, why the heck is Boston doing this?
The draft picks.
The Celtics are betting that Brooklyn is bad enough in 2016 and 2018 to make those picks really valuable. They’re betting that this Nets team has a window of two years, and that they’ll be in shambles going into the 2015-16 season.
While the Nets roster looks stacked now — Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Brook Lopez — it’s not built for the long term.
Garnett will probably retire when his contract expires in 2015. Pierce could be gone after this season.
In 2015-16, the Nets will be paying Williams (age 32, by then), Joe Johnson (34), and Lopez (28) ~$62 million combined. That’s their entire salary cap, and they’ll be spending it on two old guards and one solid centre.
Seeing as how Boston didn’t get any cap relief or future All-Stars here, this trade is only a win if Brooklyn is bad starting in 2016.
The Celtics could have dumped Pierce and Garnett’s salaries without taking back a horrible contract like Wallace has. Boston made this trade for those picks.
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