The Brooklyn Nets’ Top 5 Trade Deadline Deals
With the NBA deadline swiftly approaching, the Brooklyn Nets find themselves at the bottom of the league with a putrid 9-47 record. The team has been sellers at the deadline already with Bojan Bogdanovic on the move and more to possibly come. The potential moves will do little to move the needle this season, but will hopefully set the team up for more success in the long-term. With the worst of times upon us (and maybe ahead of us as well), it’s always nice to think back to happier times where Brooklyn was able to improve its team at the trade deadline.
Without further ado, here are the Nets’ Top 5 Trade Deadline Deals of All-Time.
5. The end of the Jason Kidd era
On February 20th, 2008, the New Jersey Nets sent away perhaps its most beloved player in franchise history when it traded away Jason Kidd to the Dallas Mavericks. While it was a tough blow to fans who watched as Kidd led the team to two straight NBA Finals appearances in 2002 and 2003, it was a necessary step towards the future for a team that had stagnated with its core. The return for Kidd was headlined by Devin Harris, who many believed had superstar potential. Besides plenty of cap filler that included a no longer active Keith Van Horn, the Nets were able to snag two draft picks from Dallas in the deal as well.
Receiving two first round picks and a young player brimming with potential was a great return for the aging and disgruntled point guard. The Nets had great foresight back in 2008 when they pulled the trigger on this deal — but the franchise would never truly recover.
4. Nets cut bait with Jason Terry
While everyone was talking about the superstar acquisitions of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce back in 2013, many forget that Jason Terry was a key component of the deal as well. Terry was supposed to be the team’s sixth man and an end-of-game option in head coach Jason Kidd’s offense. Instead, he crashed and burned. While a Net, Terry suffered through his only season shooting below 40% from the field and also registered career lows in free throw percentage (67%) and points (4.5).
At the trade deadline in 2014, the Nets flipped Terry’s expiring deal along with Reggie Evans for Marcus Thorton, who the Nets ironically acquired and waived yesterday. Thorton became a key bench option for Kidd and was instrumental in the team’s turnaround where they won their first playoff series in Brooklyn.
3. G-Force arrives in Jersey
While it’s well known, and often scrutinized, that the draft pick the Nets callously sent to Portland in 2012 became Damian Lillard, this deadline deal brought back Gerald Wallace. Of course, Wallace won’t go down as a Nets legend, but he was undeniably instrumental in helping the team retain Deron Williams in the offseason. Appeasing their soon-to-be-free-agent point guard was vital at the time with their impending move to Brooklyn looming, so the deal to acquire Wallace was a good one at the time. Though history does not look back kindly at this deal, it’s important to remember that the Nets would have likely passed on Lillard anyway with Williams already in tow.
While it would have been nice to see the Nets draft their own rookie, it was more important to have a franchise player locked down for their big move to Brooklyn. So, maybe, give Billy a pass on this one.
2. The Nets completely cut ties with the Billy King disaster
When the Nets dealt Kevin Garnett away at the trade deadline in 2015, it finally emptied the roster of all of the pieces acquired in the failed Celtics deal that the Nets are still paying for. Kevin Garnett was effective enough as a small-ball center in the 2013-2014 season after Brook Lopez went down with an injury, but with later back the following year, Garnett struggled to carve out a steady role in Lionel Hollins’ offense as his body slowed down. The Nets were somehow able to turn the 38-year-old veteran into Thaddeus Young, who, well, you know the rest.
Young was able to provide versatility on both ends of the floor and played a key role in the Nets beating out Indiana for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference that season. Of course, Young and the Nets even gave Atlanta a scare in the first round, playing competitively and forcing the series to 6 games.
(A short time later, the Nets would move Young for the pick that would turn into Caris LeVert, a piece most Nets fans agree looks special. Win-win.)
1. The Nets acquire their superstar for Brooklyn
After failing in their attempts to bring Carmelo Anthony to New Jersey in 2011, the Nets shocked the world by acquiring Deron Williams from the Utah Jazz. The team gave up two first round draft picks, Derrick Favors, and Devin Harris to do so, but ultimately the team benefitted from acquiring, and later re-signing, a star of Williams’ stature. While the Nets were set to move to Brooklyn without a discernable star, most writers and analysts agreed that the Nets made out like bandits, acquiring a universally agreed top ten player for nothing like the aforementioned Anthony’s bounty.
Many will point out that this was just the first domino to fall before reaching the lows the Nets find themselves in today, but hindsight is always 20/20. The team never reached owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s crazy championship-or-bust promises, but it was so important to make a splash and create a market in the already watered-down New York basketball market. Thanks to Williams, the trendy black and white branding is a cultural staple around the world, even if the on-court product fell short.
Williams played for the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets for three and a half seasons and although he never quite lived up to the hype he created with his All-NBA play in Utah, he was a huge reason why the franchise got off the ground at all in their new state.