A decade of Boston Celtics dominance is officially no more: the Brooklyn Nets agreed in principle to a blockbuster trade to acquire future Hall of Famers Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett (oh yeah, and Jason Terry). In return for those three, the Nets will send Boston three first-round picks (2014, '16 and '18) along with Kris Humphries' expiring contract, Gerald Wallace, Kris Joseph, MarShon Brooks and a sign-and-traded Keith Bogans (though the Daily News claims Reggie Evans is also part of the deal). The man who trash talked Carmelo Anthony using cereal metaphors will now be part of a true NYC crosstown rivalry.
The deal can't officially be completed until July 10th—that would be when the NBA allows trades and signings to occur, and after Pierce's contract becomes guaranteed. But ESPN reports Garnett has waived his no-trade clause, and the Nets have agreed to fully guarantee the $12 million owed him for the 2014-15 season. So barring any unforeseen incidents or Bill Simmons buying the team in the next two weeks, the trade is as good as gold.
Nobody from either side can talk about the deal till it's done: "At the time that it's appropriate, I will address it if possible, but at this time, I can't," said Nets GM Billy King. Doc Rivers, the former coach of the Celtics who oversaw The Big Three for the last decade, told ESPN “it’s obviously a great trade for Brooklyn.” Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, who was an assistant in Boston on the 2008 NBA champions, called it sad: ''You hate to see it. I certainly hate to see them go to Brooklyn, Doc of course going to the Clippers. But that's the NBA. It's constant change, and you have to be ready to adapt. I think what Paul Pierce did for that franchise and Kevin - I think's it's good for them."
But is it good for the Nets? Gothamist Nets beatwriter, Derek Evers, says that the upside is that the team "desperately need some grit. Garnett and Pierce would definitely supply it." Parting with the three draft picks are rough, but the Nets are banking on being a top three team in the conference for the next few years, so they're hoping that offsets that move.
Two things are for sure: Knicks and Nets games are sure to be even more exciting this season. And the Nets have now almost caught up to the Knicks in median age.