Revisiting the Pierce-KG trade (Aka how Danny Ainge murdered the Nets)

Thursday's trade with the Suns wasn't just a trade with the Suns -- it was also the latest (and perhaps final) chapter of the Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett trade with the Nets.

The Celtics traded both Marcus Thornton and the Cavaliers 2016 1st round pick for Isaiah Thomas, and both of those assets (plus Tyler Zeller) were acquired back in July after the Celtics absorbed Thornton's contract by using the massive trade exception they acquired from the Nets for Pierce.

This all happened on the same day that KG was dealt to Minnesota, putting the finishing touches on the Nets side of the deal, as Pierce and Jason Terry had already skipped town.

With all of this action, it seemed like a good time to review the mega-deal once again, if only to savor the complete and utter destruction that Danny Ainge reigned upon the Brooklyn Nets.

Celtics traded:

Paul Pierce - played one season in Brooklyn, left in free agency
Kevin Garnett - played nearly two seasons in Brooklyn, dealt for Thaddeus Young
Jason Terry - played half a season in Brooklyn, traded for Marcus Thornton, who was traded for Jarrett Jack
D.J. White - released

Celtics received:

Gerald Wallace - still on team :(
Kris Humphries - played one season in Boston, dealt for $4.3 million trade exception and a 2015 2nd round pick
MarShon Brooks - traded as throw-in in deal with Warriors
Kris Joseph - released
Keith Bogans - traded in deal that netted Boston Dwight Powell, who has since been dealt, and two second round picks.
2014 1st round pick - James Young
2016 1st round pick - unprotected
2018 1st round pick - unprotected
Right to swap 2017 1st round picks
Trade exception - used to acquire Marcus Thornton, Tyler Zeller and 2016 1st round pick. Then dealt Thornton/the pick for Isaiah Thomas

Lot of clutter there, so let's now simplify the deal even further: what remaining assets are left on each team as a result of this deal?


Thaddeus Young - $9.97 million player option for 2015-16
Jarrett Jack - signed for both 2015-16 and 2016-17


Gerald Wallace - signed for 2015-16 at $10.16 million :(
Isaiah Thomas - signed through 2018
Tyler Zeller - signed for 2015-16, restricted free agent thereafter
James Young - signed through 2018, restricted free agent thereafter
2016 1st round pick - unprotected
2018 1st round pick - unprotected
Right to swap 2017 1st round picks
2015 2nd round pick from Wizards (protected top-49)
2016 2nd round pick from Cavs
2017 2nd round pick from Cavs
$4.3 million trade exception

Four current players, one of which is a legit starting point guard with career averages of 15 and 5, one is a rotation center, one is a 19-year-old kid with offensive talent signed for four more seasons, and one is an old, bad player making a lot of money (sorry, can't spin that one). There's also two future unprotected firsts with the ability to swap a third time, three 2nd rounders and a trade exception.

Meanwhile, the Nets have old man Jarrett Jack, and Thaddeus Young for one year on a slight overpay. If we were comparing trades to actual games, this was Game 6 of the 2008 Finals.

Now I understand that the Nets "took a chance", and "went for it" -- but my god, when you mortgage your entire future to win a total of five playoff games, you deserve every shred of criticism that you get.

None of us have any idea where this rebuild will end up, but we know where it started. When Danny Ainge stuck his hand into the chest of the Brooklyn Nets, and pulled their still beating heart right out.

Obviously the Wallace contract is ugly, but the Celtics actually saved money in both 2013-14 (about $4 million) and 2014-15 (about $2 million) with this deal, meaning they only end up "losing" money next season ($10.1 million). When you consider how the Celtics are rebuilding (through the draft as opposed to free agency), and how far under the 2015-16 cap they are even with Wallace (around $26 million at this point), the penalty they'll end up paying for this complete windfall of assets is negligible.

While rebuilding takes patience, Ainge has successfully completed stage one: asset acquisition. Now he's beginning stage two: turning those assets into talent. It started with last year's draft, and on Thursday continued with Thomas. Now the question becomes, what will he do with his five picks in this year's draft, his eight in next year's draft, $26 million worth of cap space, and two big trade exceptions? I don't know. But I feel pretty good about the direction at this point..and so should you.

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