Grading the Nets Celtics Trade of 2013

Nets Celtics Trade landed Brown and Tatum on the Celtics
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In the 2022 playoffs, the Boston Celtics swept the Brooklyn Nets, and the Nets fans have no one other to blame than their General Manager in 2013. Back almost ten years ago, the Brooklyn Nets and the Boston Celtics agreed on one of the most questionable trades in NBA history. Multiple Hall-of-Famers changed teams, and multiple top 5 draft picks changed hands. Here, we take a look at the Nets Celtics trade that took the NBA by storm.

Grading the Nets Celtics Trade of 2013

Here are the full trade details.

Brooklyn trades: 2014 first-round pick,  2016 first-round pick, 2018 first-round pick, Kris Humphries,  Gerald Wallace, Kris Joseph, MarShon Brooks, and Keith Bogans (via sign and trade)

Celtics trades: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry

So, What Were the Nets Thinking?

The rationale in this trade from the Brooklyn front office was both simple and flawed. The Nets were coming off of a largely successful season, winning 49 games, which secured them the second seed in the Eastern Conference. The core of Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, and Joe Johnson had been a successful endeavor for the Nets, so they chose to double down.

The Nets have never won a title and had failed to remain relevant since their back-to-back finals appearances in 2002 and 2003. Therefore it was easy to pull the trigger on trading for Garnett and Pierce, two players bound to be Hall-of-Famers. Once the Nets front office came to the conclusion that they wanted to make a trade to volt them into the title race, they knew this had to be the trade.

How Did the Celtics Get Away With This?

2012-2013 was a disappointing season in Boston. Just 5 seasons after a title, the Celtics finished just a single game over .500, even with a similarly composed roster. Both Garnett and Peirce showed clear signs of aging, which came with great regression in their output. Wyc Grousbeck once famously said: “Danny [Ainge] would throw his mother in for the right trade.” This everlasting Ainge adage would prove true once more, as the Celtics moved on from the building blocks of their 17th championship.

It was clearly time for the Celtics to rebuild, and this trade made perfect sense to kick it off. They got rid of three veterans who had very little productive time left on the team, and in return got three first-round picks. The players selected with the Brooklyn pick eventually became two current Celtic stars, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who just led their team in a first-round sweep of the Brooklyn Nets. Now, could one of these picks end up on the Nets?

Final Grades

Note: the factors for these grades are a mix of the assets traded and the rationale for the trade at the time. The draft picks are also accounted for, and the players are produced via selection or trade.

Boston Celtics Grade: A+

The Celtics struck gold with this trade, and there is no question about that. Their investment into the future clearly paid off, and could eventually result in future championships. The value they traded will never exceed the value they received in return, and it makes no sense why they should receive any lower grades.

Brooklyn Nets: D+

The Celtics clearly botched this trade, but there’s a reason that their grade isn’t as low as one could expect. The note above means that in order to come to the conclusion of a legitimate grade, the teams’ rationale for the trade must be. considered. While the results are obviously under what they had expected, the Nets’ rationale was solid. They had the chance to contend for a title, and while it did not pan out, they indeed had the chance to do so.