When the initial shock wore off after hearing the beginnings of a deal between the Celtics and Nets that would land both Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in Brooklyn, the one thing that could prevent it all from happening immediately came into focus.
Garnett is one of a very few players in the league with a no-trade clause in his contract, meaning that his approval would be required for the trade to be able to become fully agreed upon in principle.
Despite the way things quickly came together, Garnett informed the relevant parties that he would in fact sign off on the deal late Thursday, and it is essentially done.
Garnett waived his no-trade clause after the Nets agreed to fully guarantee the $12 million owed him for the 2014-15 season, the third year of his contract. Prior to the agreement, the Nets could have bought out Garnett for $6 million.
Garnett also was swayed by the chance to join his close friend, Pierce, in Brooklyn where they could play for longtime rival Jason Kidd.
The trade can’t be made official by the NBA until July 10.
The July 10 part is due to the fact that no free agent transactions can be completed until then under NBA rules, and Pierce’s salary of over $15 million for next season was only guaranteed for $5 million, so the Celtics will need to pick up the entire thing in order for the salaries on the trade to match.
The rest of the moving pieces look like this: Jason Terry will join Pierce and Garnett in Brooklyn, while Gerald Wallace, Kris Joseph, Kris Humphries and three future first-round picks (2014, ’16 and ’18) head to Boston. The Celtics will also receive Reggie Evans and Keith Bogans.
This is Boston officially blowing things up and beginning the rebuilding that was inevitable with its veteran core reaching the end of its competitive lifecycle. The only real negative in the deal for the Celtics is taking on the three years and over $30 million tied to Wallace, but no contract is immovable, and the team may be able to shed it at some point before it’s through.
As for Brooklyn, they have a billionaire owner who wants to win now, and wants to remain relevant by bringing big names and star power to his franchise, no matter how short-sided that vision may be.
This trade cripples Brooklyn financially for the foreseeable future, and the team will have a luxury tax bill approaching $80 million next season. If money is truly no object, then the franchise will be stuck in this mode of trading for or flat out purchasing star players once Pierce and Garnett retire, because by continually dealing draft picks and other assets away, there is no conventional rebuilding solution available once things begin to go south.
The Nets should have no trouble making the playoffs, but are they now better than Miami, Indiana, or even Chicago in the Eastern Conference? That remains to be seen, of course, and wins are never guaranteed, no matter the personnel.
The only thing certain is that the Nets will be a most interesting topic of conversation with Garnett and Pierce in the fold, and Brooklyn will be one of the more closely watched teams in the league as the season progresses.