Tuesday 20 February 2018 / 04:34 AM


Last night finally quelled all the drama about who gets the number one pick. And surprise: it was the Boston Celtics, the team with the best chance.

Now, I know some of the casual fans of basketball may be wondering how Boston, sitting in the Eastern Conference Finals, landed the top pick in the draft, reserved for the worst of the NBA. And a casual fan may also wonder how stupid a team could be to trade that pick when they were the worst team in the league. Well, to frame just how bad this deal was, let’s take you back.

Let’s take a trip back in time to 2011. The Nets had been the subject of a lot of building optimism with a new billionaire owner in Mikhail Prokhorov and minority owner Jay-Z. The team had just announced a move to Brooklyn, and were playing under a new city and color way. The new owner promised a revitalized team: making moves to compete around Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace, and Brook Lopez.

To acquire Williams, the first domino, they made a deal that saw them trade young Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, and two first round picks, 2011 (Enes Kanter) and 2013 (Gorgui Dieng).

That alone should be enough to go “woof”, but they’d progressively get worse.

At the trade deadline the following season, the Nets would make a move to get Williams a complementary “star” to convince him to stay in free agency and traded for aging Gerald Wallace.

So what did they give up this time? Some players you’ve never heard of and yet ANOTHER first round pick. This one? Damian Lillard.

So they needed to get a little better, and added another star around Williams, trading for the massive contract of Joe Johnson for five players, yet another first rounder, and two pick swaps in 2014 and 2015 (one of which was Kelly Oubre). Yes, that bad.But we’ll get to that. For now, the Nets had their team to compete, and headed into 2012-2013 ready to get to the postseason.

They then promptly handed Wallace a $40 million contract, one so bad they would have to trade a farm away to get rid of.

But we’ll get to that. For now, they had their super team, and were ready to go for the playoffs in 2013-2014.

But after flailing during the season, they wanted another shakeup. And shakeup they did, with the aging Celtics being called to ask about the availability of their “Big Three” remainders after the departure of Ray Allen. Many thought one of Garnett or Pierce was available, but the Celtics decided to move both.

The Celtics had aged and taken on injuries, with Garnett and Pierce both dealing with a rough 2013-2014 season. Ray Allen had taken his talents to South Beach, and the Celtics title window had closed. So Danny Ainge took what everything he could get for the group.

So the trade shook out like this:

Brooklyn got Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry, and DJ White.

While the Celtics got back: Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, Kris Joseph, Keith Bogans, and the Nets 2014, 2016 AND 2018 first round picks, PLUS the ability to swap in 2017.

That’s right. The Nets traded FOUR future first round picks for Pierce, age 36, and Garnett, age 37.

We know the rest. Brooklyn got dubbed a “super team”, but had blown up their roster yet again in just two years, making the playoffs in both but getting just one win in the second round out of the arrangement.

None of the players acquired in those deals for Brooklyn remain here in 2017, with the roster totally gutted and down to nothing but slim-pickings.

Boston, on the other hand, drafted James Young, Jaylen Brown, and just landed the top pick in the draft this year, presumably Markelle Fultz.

But the craziness of this awful trade gets worse when amplified by the fact that the Nets don’t even own their pick NEXT year, a time when they again look to be awful.

The Nets easily completed the worst series of trades in NBA history during the reign of Billy King and the Nets ownership. And even though they seem to now be trending in the right direction, they still aren’t yet close to seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.


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About the author

Austin Albertson

Austin is CBS' senior NFL and NBA analyst, bringing you commentary on everything between the lines and inside the hashes, from the film room to the scoreboard.

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