Ainge burned the Nets so bad, the NBA might change trade rules

People around the league are genuinely afraid to deal with Danny Ainge, and for good reason.

"Trader Danny", as he has often been called, has a reputation as a shrewd customer on the NBA trade market, known for robbing lesser general managers blind in many a deal, none more infamous than the trade he orchestrated with Billy King and the Brooklyn Nets in 2013. That deal, which sent an aging Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry to the Nets in exchange for three first-round picks - their 2014, 2016, and 2018 picks, plus the rights to swap draft picks in 2017 - was so lopsided, the league is reportedly considering a rule change to prevent such a move in the future (via ESPN's Zach Lowe):

"The league has since discussed banning pick swaps between drafts in which a team already owes its pick to other teams; the tweak has been on the competition committee agenda, but has not been debated yet at length, sources say."

On one hand, it's true that the damage to the Nets resulting from this trade has been so severe, it's only now the team is showing faint signs of life, reminiscent of the deals made by former Cleveland Cavaliers owner Ted Stepien, who traded away so many first-round draft picks in the early 1980s, the league outlawed dealing away picks in consecutive years.

But, on the other, with the rule the league created to save general managers from themselves already in place (called, appropriately, the Stepien Rule), it takes a lot of creativity to screw your team up as badly as the Nets have done. Even if I set aside my bias towards the Boston Celtics, I'm not in favor of micromanaging teams even more than they already are (take a look at Larry Coon's if you want to get an idea of what I'm talking about), and believe there's something worthwhile about the power of example as a deterrent.

What do you readers think? Would the league be better off preventing pick swaps in years that would otherwise be disallowed because of our buddy Mr. Stepien? Or was the atrocity that has been the Nets these last five years done enough to convince teams of the poor wisdom of trading away that many assets at once?

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Image: Frank O'Brien/The Boston Globe
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