Everyone remembers the deal that took place in 2013 between the Boston Celtics and the new look Brooklyn Nets, who just finished a season in the new area of Brooklyn after moving from the swamps of New Jersey. The Nets were a season removed of an Eastern Conference First Round exit at the hands of the superior Chicago Bulls, and with All-Stars like Deron Williams and Joe Johnson looking to get further in the post-season, the Nets made a giant and risky move by trading away their future.
The Boston Celtics were starting to age and with talent like Ray Allen going to the Miami Heat to join Lebron and company, the Celtics were starting to look towards the future as their roster was really thin and didn’t have any stand-out players, aside from Rajon Rondo. The Nets were the perfect team to send aging vets like Paul Peirce and Kevin Garnett to as a last ditch effort for those guys to make the playoffs, and the Nets did for a couple seasons -even knocking off my Raptors handily in 2014- but the traumatic effects took place years after. The Nets in acquiring Paul Peirce and Kevin Garnett along with aging swingman Jason Terry, would give up a boatload of players and three first round picks in 2014 2017 and 2018. The move was to bring in a new and
expensive exciting team identity since the Nets were moving to Brooklyn after Jay Z engineered the move into the new Barclays Center facility. The Nets thought they were not behind the New York Knicks in terms of the go to team of the New York basketball scene, but they thought they drove the bus.
Kevin Garnett and Paul Peirce were old getting on older as they began their Brooklyn tenure, Garnett was 37 when the deal was finalized and just wrapped up an alright but telling season of his age, he put up 14.8 points with the Celtics before being traded. But would only average about 6.8 points and 6.5 points his last 2 seasons with Brooklyn, and Paul Peirce was 36 years old with a much telling of age in his game than Kevin Garnett, despite putting up higher points than Kevin Garnett at around 18 points per game. The Brooklyn Nets traded for now without realizing that they mostly traded for a 2 year window of opportunity with no clear vision or direction for the seasons after.
The Nets would soon be a team of misfits and mid-round draft picks that were either too young to really figure out, or didn’t really have the stand out draft talent a team with no where to go was looking for. Guys like Andrea Bargani, Jarret Jack and Thad Young were there to try and supply some kind of offense or leadership, but were mostly there to fill out space and time till the Nets could maybe figure something out.
The Brooklyn Nets did find someone to build around and call their star when they traded for disgruntled Lakers prospect D’Angelo Russel in the summer of 2017. For Russell it was a chance to lead a team that desperately needed a leader,and for the Nets it was to finally have somewhat of a direction and player to build around after years of wonder. But it would not last long till bad luck for the Nets struck again, as D’Angelo Russel would injury his knee in a game against the Jazz early in the season. D’Angelo Russel would go on to have knee surgery and miss a good chunk of the season, and when he did come back struggled to regain form while also relying on roles off the bench rather then starting.
It wasn’t like the Nets had no other players to put on the court when Russell went down, the Nets pulled moves with teams like the Blazers for catch and shoot expert Allen Crabbe, and helped the Raptors clear some cap by taking on Demarre Caroll’s contract. While also drafting some young and promising talent late in the draft like 1st Round 20th Overall pick in the 2017-18 draft Caris Levert, who the Nets got after trading Thad Young to the Indiana Pacers, who were trying to build around Victor Oladipo after Paul George left for OKC.
The Nets have added good solid players that for an enough of an amount of time can provide some solid production while the Nets look forward to reentering in the 2019 NBA Draft. They signed Shabazz Napier to a 2 year deal after Bazz had his best season of his career with the Portland Trailblazers, as he filled solid backup minutes to Damian Lillard. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has developed into a solid wing defender that can be switched and stretched to guard multiple positions, Spencer Dinwiddie is making a name for himself in Brooklyn after not fitting in with the Pistons and Joe Harris can be a real solid 2-3 shooting guard forward mix that can be reliable from deep. With hopefully a coach that can last and also be a part of this project in Kenny Akintson, the Nets may not have a superstar in their possesion but have a direction. With young guys like Caris Levert and Spencer Dinwiddie helping to lead the way, the Nets might still be a bottom seed team in a top heavy Eastern Conference, but at least this time they are exciting, and have a direction they hopefully see to the end whatever that end will be.