The Celtics and Nets are closing in on a blockbuster trade that would send Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry from Boston to Brooklyn, according to multiple reports.
Yahoo! Sports reports that the Nets have agreed to send Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Reggie Evans, Kris Joseph and three first-round picks in exchange for the trio of Celtics. The picks would come in the 2014, 2016 and 2018 drafts. ESPN.com confirms the agreement, although there were conflicting reports Thursday night as to the minor players the Nets would include in the package. On Friday, CBSSports.com reported that MarShon Brooks and not Reggie Evans would be included in the deal.
Garnett possesses a no-trade clause in his contract and reportedly approved the deal. Earlier this month, he was linked in reports to a possible trade to the Clippers before NBA commissioner David Stern stepped in to prevent any trades between the two teams in the aftermath of a compensation agreement that allowed Celtics coach Doc Rivers to head to Los Angeles.
Because of the contracts involved, the trade reportedly cannot officially be consummated until this summer's free agency moratorium is lifted on July 10.
Boston finished 41-40 last season, landing in the Eastern Conference's No. 7 slot. The Celtics were eliminated by the Knicks in the first round of the playoffs. The goal of the proposed deal would clearly be asset accumulation, as the Celtics have made it clear that a rebuilding effort is unavoidable. The benefits of the deal include: the three picks, the ability to shed the future salary owed to Garnett and Terry, Humphries' expiring contract and Evans, who is an elite rebounding specialist. The drawback: Wallace's contract, as it extends through 2015-16 and his best days already appear to be behind him. Without Garnett and Pierce, and with Rajon Rondo still recovering from knee surgery, the Celtics would be on track for the loaded 2014 draft lottery.
Brooklyn finished 49-33, earning the No. 4 seed. The Nets were upset by the Bulls in the first round of the playoffs. Trade proposals don't get much more clearly oriented around "winning now" than this one. Should the deal ultimately go through, the Nets would sport a starting lineup that includes five players that have been selected to All-Star Games: Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Pierce, Garnett and Brook Lopez. That starting five would also be on the books for more than $80 million in combined salaries for the 2013-14 season, meaning the Nets will be deep, deep into luxury tax territory. Pulling the trigger on such a move would signal a belief that this group could compete for a title or that owner Mikhail Prokhorov is even richer than we could possibly imagine, and probably both.
Garnett, 37, averaged 14.8 points and 7.8 rebounds last season, earning his 15th All-Star selection, and has two years, $24 million remaining on his contract. Pierce, 35, averaged 18.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists last season and will earn $15.3 million in the final year of his contract. Terry, 35, averaged 10.1 points and 2.5 assists last season, his first year in Boston, and has two years, $10+ million remaining on his deal.