Hayes Davenport: The truth is I haven’t confronted my emotions yet. Just hoping it doesn’t happen when I’m driving a car or holding anything sharp. But initially I was pretty grossed out: Gerald Wallace, rebuilding piece. I came around for the sake of Pierce and Garnett. For those who think they deserved “better”: you mean to finish seventh in the East and get bounced in the first round again? Those guys are the biggest winners of the trade, hugely.
Michael Pina: Sadness, of course. Knowing Paul Pierce wouldn’t retire as a member of the Boston Celtics is as much of an emotional kick to the ribs as any fan base could suffer. That being said, I also knew it was both necessary and rational. After taking a few deep breaths, I stepped back from the ledge.
Ryan DeGama: I felt the same way I did on Monday when Doc was sent/sent himself packing: excitement. That was followed by a surprisingly potent sense of loss. And then deep shame that I’d been hoping for this all along. These guys are warriors, after all. And then, finally, excitement again. We’re one (horrifically messy) step towards the next title.
Brian Robb: It’s just starting to sink in, really. While the Doc Rivers soap opera took weeks to come to an end, this was the exact opposite, coming to fruition in mere hours. There is no doubt in my mind that this was the best deal available NOW for the Celtics, but I’m still not sure it was worth ripping your franchise apart (knowing Doc was likely out the door because of it) to fire up the rebuild right away.
Brendan Jackson: We’ve had a ton of build up to this. Paul Pierce hinted that his time in Boston had come to end after losing to the Knicks last season. Then there was Doc Rivers’ exodus. These moments, coupled with all of the rumors swirling, should have prepared me for this. The adult pragmatist in me loves the three first rounders, but my 14 year old self, who is still practicing fake-crossover step back jumpers in my driveway is heartbroken. And that’s the truth.
2. Did the Celtics get good value for Pierce and Garnett?
Davenport: Yeah. Teams with high picks and young talent aren’t in the market for expensive Hall of Famers in their mid-thirties. Ainge found the only “contender” who would deliver on three picks, and those picks will look REAL good once these Nets suck in 2016. Yes, they ate one bad contract in Wallace so everyone cries CAP SPACE. But this team will mostly be losing on purpose for the next two years. They don’t care about cap space, they care about Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker.
Pina: If you can think of a better realistic haul Boston could have had for a 35-year-old Paul Pierce/37-year-old Kevin Garnett combination, I’m all ears. The players coming back are pretty gross (especially a $30 million shell-of-the-Gerald Wallace-we-all-once-adored), but the draft picks and opportunity to scrap Jason Terry make it more than fair.
DeGama: I get why it might not feel this way, but in the three draft picks the C’s got great return for two guys who, our emotional history with them aside, are in little demand around the league. Think of the bonds we’ve already formed with flawed players like Avery Bradley and Jared Sullinger. Now imagine forming those same bonds with guys who are way, way better. Like franchise-changing better. We may eventually see this deal as a steal for the Celtics.
Robb: Best deal available. Too early to say good or bad. It was certainly the biggest haul Boston was going to get for Pierce and Garnett this summer. However, I’m still not crazy about the deal. No valuable breathing assets at this point in time, and a trio of what will likely be late first round picks from Brooklyn? It’s better than nothing, but still quite the crapshoot.
Jackson: It’s hard to believe that Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce were traded for three first round picks and a bag of balls. But it’s important to keep in mind that the former C’s have one, maybe two years of significantly skill-diminished basketball to play. In the same deal, the C’s also jettisoned a now useless contract in Jason Terry and can probably recoup some of those second round picks if some contender wants Reggie Evans. I also haven’t even mentioned the draft picks, which could be awesome when the Nets suck in 3-5 years. All in all, good haul.
3. What should we expect from the 2013-14 Celtics?
Davenport: Hopefully nothing. Best case is Sullinger, Bradley, and *teeth suddenly grind to dust* Kelly Olynyk continue to develop as the team loses its first 60 games. Then Rondo comes back with an icy 30-footer and they win out. Then they draft both Wiggins and Parker after they get the first pick and the Nets get the second (bad chemistry issues).
Pina: Remember 2006-07? Feels like a while ago, doesn’t it? Hopefully this team is even worse, as the Celtics once again have their eyes on a 2014 lottery that promises to jolt the league with a handful of franchise-altering prospects. Thirty-five wins would really be pushing it.
DeGama: An entire season of Wyc & Ainge’s po-faced tanking denials while the Celtics simultaneously turn in their single worst season since the ill-fated Duncan quest in 1996-97. The best/worst part? Ainge still has a few more Rondo-size holes he can blast in the bow of this ship. We may have to invent a new way to cover a team I expect to be hellbent on losing.
Robb: I’ll be able to give you a better answer when I know how many games Rajon Rondo is playing. If he goes by the Derrick Rose timeline, it will be a long season. Otherwise, there is still too much talent on this roster for them to dip much under the .500 mark. Making the postseason doesn’t seem like a long shot either. I have a feeling we’ll see a few more deals though so this answer is subject to change.
Jackson: Lots of losing. There are two franchise-changers in Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker in next year’s draft and the C’s are in a good position to be in the lottery. There’s also no reason to rush Rajon Rondo back from his ACL injury. It’s also importent to mention that the C’s may not play the defensive-style basketball we’ve been used to seeing. All of that points to a very bad team.
4. How good are the Brooklyn Nets with Pierce and Garnett?
Davenport: I have no idea. They’re definitely weird. The idea of Pierce and Joe Johnson sharing one ball is fun/disgusting. Jason Kidd is a trash person and probably a horrible coach. The motivational presence of KG is the only thing that makes the situation at all promising. I’ll watch!
Pina: Starting with the bad: the Nets still lack a bench, and have an inexperienced head coach who may not be equipped to lead a team with such high expectations (though Lawrence Frank should help as an assistant, given his prior relationship with Pierce and Garnett).
Now the good: Pierce and Garnett will be the third and fourth best players on Brooklyn’s roster (think about that for a second). They’ll bring championship experience, knowledge, and moments of All-NBA ability to the table. Don’t be surprised to see this team battling in the Eastern Conference Finals.
DeGama: They’ll be vulnerable to crippling injury due to the collective miles they’re carrying but Pierce and Garnett will open up the floor for the rest of their starting lineup. And on any given night, either Boston transplant could (and probably will) be the best player in a playoff game. Unless Jason Kidd’s too green, they’ll see Miami in the ECF.
Robb: The starting lineup is scary good on paper, but unless some adequate bench pieces are brought in, it’s tough to put them ahead of the Indiana Pacers at this juncture. Once we know more about how the rest of the roster will be filled out, as well as Kidd’s coaching abilities, Brooklyn could jump ahead of Indiana.
Jackson: It’ll take some time to figure out how Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson are going to be able to play together on this team. That said, I’m salivating at the thought of watching Garnett and Deron Williams run pick and roll and Garnett and Brook Lopez doing some high-low passes. This definitely vaults them into the contender category, but I’ll have to see how the chemistry develops before I make any bold predictions.
5. Are you confident in where the team is headed?
Davenport: Not at all, only because the first draft pick of the rebuilding era went to Kelly Olynyk. Successful rebuilds depend on successful talent recognition, and drafting a seven-footer who can’t rebound for the SECOND YEAR IN A ROW is, to me, a clue that the actual rebuild will only begin once Ainge is gone.
Pina: Extremely. Right now the Celtics have two unprotected first round picks in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2018, and their own pick in next year’s draft will almost certainly be in a golden lottery. They have four quality assets on rookie contracts and one of the best point guards in the league, in his prime, available for the right price.
The flexibility Danny Ainge has right now is incredible, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Celtics back on top of the mountain sooner than you think.
DeGama: Always have been. The veteran additions last summer didn’t work but the strategy in signing them made sense. And I trust Ainge far more with young talent than I do mid-level style acquisitions. So, for at least a couple of years, I expect a nice inflow of young talent, draft pick collection and prudent cap management while he primes the C’s to make a big score in the draft, on the free agent market, or in trade.
Robb: Lukewarm. Ainge is collecting a lot of lottery tickets with all of these unprotected first round draft picks. Unfortunately, it’d be surprising for any of them to land in the top 20. Can Ainge turn those assets into another star or two? His job should depend on it.
Jackson: I’m confident in the assets the C’s have stock-piled. Now, if they turn around and trade that haul for Josh Smith I’m not going to be happy of confident. The C’s shouldn’t overthink this. Tank this year, if you don’t get the first or second pick overall, it’s time to wheel and deal.