King dealt three first-round picks for Pierce and Garnett in addition to a first-round pick swap in 2017.
Former Nets general manager Billy King discussed the defining deal of his career with Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix on Friday and expressed his regret over trading for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in 2013.
The trade is now one of the most famous in NBA history and changed the course of both franchises. Brooklyn acquired Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry on June 28, 2013. Boston received Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries and Keith Bogans, secondary pieces paired with first-round picks in 2014, 2016 and 2018. Boston also received first-round swap rights with Brooklyn in 2017.
Pierce, Garnett and Terry played four combined seasons for Brooklyn. As for Boston, the quartet of picks netted three key pieces of the Celtics' current core. The Celtics drafted Jaylen Brown in 2016, swapped picks with Philadelphia to draft Jayson Tatum in 2017 and dealt Brooklyn's 2018 pick to Cleveland in exchange for Kyrie Irving.
King spoke about the deal with Mannix and regretted a lack of patience before pulling the trigger.
“I should have said, ’Give me a day to think about it, let’s talk in the morning,” King told The Crossover. “I should have regrouped everyone, and gone through it again. I should have told Danny, ‘Give me a day.’ I probably would have revamped it. I should have said, ‘Look, Danny, everything looks good. Let’s finish the draft and let’s talk in the morning.’ That’s one thing I would have done differently, for sure.”
The trade will forever be attached to King, but he hopes it's not the public's only memory of his career. King worked in the 76ers' front office from 1997-2007 and built the roster than landed Philadelphia its first Finals appearance in nearly two decades in 2001.
“I don’t want that to define my overall basketball career,” King said. “A lot of good things happened during my time in the NBA. Things like [the trade] overshadow everything else. I know I have a lot more to give.”