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Looking back on how Brooklyn surrendered all these picks to Boston

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It ended up being one of the worst trades ever in the NBA, certainly the worst in the last couple of decades.

In the summer of 2013, the Nets — at the behest of an ownership group that wanted to win big heading into a new arena in Brooklyn — put together a trade that netted them Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce (to go with Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez), two Hall of Fame players but guys now on the downside of their career. Both guys lasted two seasons with the Nets.

The cost? Brooklyn surrendered a 2014 first rounder (turned out to be No. 17), a 2016 first rounder (No. 3), the rights to swap picks in 2017 (No. 1), and the Nets 2018 pick (likely to be high lottery again).

How did this happen? How did the Nets give up the motherload? Stephan Bondy at the New York Daily News has a great retrospective piece talking to people, and it wasn’t as simple as “GM Billy King screwed up.” If you read one thing today on hoops, it should be this piece.

The downfall started with an ownership group obsessed with having the best toys right now – they wanted big stars to open their new arena (remember they chased Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard, too). The formula included the fact the Nets in 2013 looked like a team on the rise (and LeBron James looked almost vulnerable). There was King not getting enough protections on picks. It led to a level of arrogance in the organization that backfired.

The first deal negotiated with the Celtics was just for Pierce, and the Nets only had to give up one draft pick, Kris Humphries and MarShon Brooks. But then Doc Rivers left the Celtics for the Clippers, and Garnett came into focus because there was nothing left for him in Boston. To match salaries, the Nets had to get rid of Gerald Wallace and his ugly contract paying $30 million over the next three years.

Shedding that cost Brooklyn another first-round draft pick, along with the two they were giving up for Garnett and Pierce. For a year in between, the Celtics negotiated the right to swap first-round picks. That turned into the Celtics landing No. 1 overall in 2017, which they’re reportedly close to trading to Philly for even more lottery picks.

“The arrogance in the room was that we were going to roll, we were going to win these next couple of years,” said a former Nets staff member who was in the draft room. “Maybe not the championship, but we were going to win the next couple of years and have sustainable success. We were going to keep signing free agents. We were always going to draft between 20 and 30. So if we’re going to swap with the Celtics, who gives a f—? That definitely was the thought.”

Also forgot in all this, and brought up by Bondy — the move was praised at the time for the most part. The Nets came in second in the annual GM survey at the start of next season for having had the best off-season (they got 25 percent of the vote). It also worked to boost Nets ticket sales in Brooklyn.

Of course, everything went sideways from the start for the Nets. Williams was injured and missed training camp, and more importantly he never really wanted to be in that spotlight as the leader anyway. Coach Jason Kidd squabbled with assistants and banished Lawrence Frank. Garnett missed 30 games. He and Pierce seemed disengaged from the team. Brook Lopez broke his foot just a couple of months into the season. Andrei Kirilenko was not the same. And Bondy reports “Andray Blatche allegedly showed up drunk to practices, according to multiple sources.”

Eventually, Kidd bolted for Milwaukee (after his bid to gain GM power failed) and ownership decided to close its wallet to the big spending.

It all came undone within a couple of years, but the Nets are still paying the price.

New GM Sean Marks is shrewd and made smart plays — like going hard after restricted free agents Allen Crabbe and Tyler Johnson — even if he came up empty. He made a smart move to bring in Jeremy Lin, who unfortunately was injured much of last season. They are trying to develop Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.

But the Nets are years and years away. Mostly because of this one horrible trade.

Kris Humphries shatters backboard, ends Hawks practice early

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Kris Humphries was engaged to woman who broke the Internet, but now he’s broken something of his own: the backboard at an Atlanta Hawks practice at Santa Monica High School.

A photo posted on Twitter by the Hawks account showed the extent of the damage.

It wasn’t pretty:

How hard is Atlanta going in practice? That’s some serious glass that needs replacing.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says that the Hawks will indeed pay to replace the high school’s backboard.

Meanwhile, the Hawks took care of business by clearing out what was left of the glass in the backboard:

Hawks to sign Richard Solomon to training camp deal

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The Atlanta Hawks have 15 players on guaranteed contracts, the max they can carry into the season. They are also loaded at the power forward spot with Paul Millsap, Mike Scott, Mike Muscala, and Kris Humphries.

Which means while they are bringing Richard Solomon to training camp, he’s not making the team.

Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution had the report:

The Hawks will sign Richard Solomon to a non-guaranteed contract and the forward will join the team for training camp in two weeks, according to several people familiar with the situation….

Solomon went undrafted out of the University of California in 2014 and signed to go to training camp with the Thunder. He was waived and spent the entire 2014-15 season with the Oklahoma City’s NBA Development League affiliate Blue. In 28 games, he averaged 8.5 points and 6.9 rebounds in 18 minutes.

Last season Solomon played in Japan, and he played in the Las Vegas Summer League with Oklahoma City. Solomon will make a little money with the Hawks and get the chance to turn heads and see if another team will give him a look.

When Kris Humphries swam faster than Michael Phelps

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Michael Phelps might be the greatest Olympian of all time.

The American swimmer has won 23 gold medals and set numerous world records.

But he was once chasing Kris Humphries.

Before focusing on his basketball career, Humphries – who now plays for the Hawks after stints with the Jazz, Raptors, Mavericks, Nets, Celtics, Wizards and Suns – was an elite swimmer. He held the top times for swimmers 10-and-under in 1995 in the 50 free, 100 free, 50 back, 50 breast, 50 fly and 200 I.M.

In the same age group? Michael Phelps.

Check out the USA swimming record book from that year:

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And that’s as close as Phelps came to Humphries. Humphries had even bigger advantages over the future Olympic gold medalist in other events.

(hat tip: KL Chouinard of hawks.com)

Report: Hawks re-signing Kris Humphries to one-year, $4 million contract

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The Hawks are signing a well-known big man whose hunt for attention has widely turned fans against him.

Not just Dwight Howard.

Atlanta will also re-sign Kris Humphries.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Through all the fame, Humphries has turned himself into a pretty good role player.

He’s a reliable mid-range shooter, and he finally started attempting 3-pointers last season. Though he didn’t score more efficiently beyond the arc than he had from mid-range, there’s potential for him to cash in on those higher-value 3s.

He uses his strength to his advantage defensively. His lack of rim protection makes it tougher to play him more, though.

Humphries was an excellent rebounder before falling off a cliff last season. If that’s a sign of decline now that he’s north of 30, at least Atlanta isn’t locked in more than a year.

The Hawks are now crowded at power forward and center with Howard, Paul Millsap, Mike Scott, Mike MuscalaTiago Splitter, Walter Tavares and Humphries. Signing Humphries could be a prelude to another move.