While the Williams trade seemed like a good idea at the time, it earns a spot on the ‘Worst Moves’ list when taking into account how it turned out, and the bad moves that compounded it.
All told, the Nets gave up the following in order to acquire and then placate Williams: their own first round pick in 2011 (Enes Kanter), 2012 (Damian Lillard), 2014 (James Young), 2016, and 2018; pick swaps in 2015 and 2017; the Warriors’ and Rockets’ first-round picks in 2013; and Derrick Favors. The Nets have one second-round playoff win to show for it.
Meanwhile, Favors has come into his own in Utah, Kanter is finally thriving in Oklahoma City, Dieng has shown flashes in Minnesota, Harris has a higher PER than Williams this season, and Damian Lillard has blossomed into a franchise point guard.
4: Trading for Mehmet Okur.
After an injury to Brook Lopez in December 2011, the Nets sent a 2015 second-round pick to the Jazz for Mehmet Okur. Okur, then 32, had by then seen his best days. He played just 17 games for the Nets, shooting 37% from the field, before being shipped to the Blazers for Wallace.
Not a franchise-shifting bad trade, but a waste of resources nonetheless.
3: Including a 2015 draft pick swap for Joe Johnson.
The Joe Johnson trade itself is not necessarily a bad one. Johnson has been a productive player for the Nets, carrying the team at times. He earned The Brooklyn Game’s MVP honors last season. You may not want him on your cap sheet, but you want him on your team.
Hawks general manager Danny Ferry did not want Johnson on his cap sheet. No other team in the league would take on the four years and $90 million owed Joe Johnson. So why did King sweeten the deal for Ferry, including not only the Rockets’ first-round pick in 2013, but also the right to swap picks in 2015? Ferry would likely have done the trade without the pick provisions; he was after the cap flexibility necessary to build this year’s dominant squad.
Worse, the pick swap was not mentioned until well after the trade was announced. Sketchy.
Now, the Nets will likely swap a top-15 pick for one in the back three of the first round.
2: Trading for & re-signing Gerald Wallace.
Scrambling to surround free-agent-to-be Deron Williams with veterans, King fired off a desperation trade, sending a lightly-protected lottery pick to the Blazers for Gerald Wallace as Wallace was about to hit unrestricted free agency. This gave his agent serious leverage, which resulted in the injury-prone Wallace earning a four-year, $40 million deal.
The very next summer, King reportedly had to include another first-round pick in the Pierce/Garnett deal just to get the Celtics to take on Wallace’s contract. The Blazers, of course, took Rookie of the Year and top-5 rapper Damian Lillard with the Nets’ pick.
1: Trading three first-rounders for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, & Jason Terry.
Fresh off a first-round loss to a depleted Chicago Bulls roster, King made a trade that set the franchise back years, giving up three unprotected first-round picks and a pick swap for a half-season of Jason Terry, one season of Paul Pierce, and a season and a half of Kevin Garnett. The Nets won one playoff series with Pierce and Garnett on the roster, and as a result do not control the fate of their own draft pick until 2019.