The Nets had an opportunity to re-sign Pierce, but decided instead to cut what would’ve cost the team over $20 million in the luxury tax in the first year alone, signaling a new era of Nets spending reticence. Pierce signed a two-year deal with the Washington Wizards. Pierce has started 61 games for the Wizards, averaging 12.8 points per game on .458-.397-.789 shooting splits.
He’s playing about a minute less per game in Washington than he did in Brooklyn, but he’s putting up near-identical numbers. Seriously, look at a comparison of his per-36 numbers from last year to this year (courtesy Basketball-Reference, through 3/15). It’s downright eerie.
The Wizards are firmly in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt, just behind the Toronto Raptors and fighting for home-court advantage in the first round. It looks like Pierce may have another shot at playoff heroics, for the third different team in as many years.
MarShon Brooks: Italy
Remember “Baby Kobe”? We called him “The Gentleman’s Nick Young,” but either works: MarShon Brooks, the lanky 6’5″ guard with an old-school scoring touch, saw his role sharply reduced by Avery Johnson in the team’s first season in Brooklyn, going from 29.4 minutes per game to just 12.5. Part of that was the circumstances — the Nets had just acquired Joe Johnson from the Hawks, and playing time was scarce — but Brooks wanted out to a team where he could get more playing time, and the Nets granted his wish, sending him to the Boston Celtics that offseason.
But Brooks’s story was only just beginning. He never fit into Boston’s ideals, and played just ten games before the team shipped him to the Golden State Warriors. Then, roughly a month later at the NBA trade deadline, the Warriors shipped him to the Los Angeles Lakers — making Brooks one of the few players to have suited up for the Celtics & Lakers, legendary rival franchises, in the same season.
Today, Brooks is playing overseas in Italy for club Emporio Armani Milano. He’s the 19-2 team’s leading scorer, averaging 16.2 points in 25.2 minutes per game in the Italian League.
Remember when the Nets allegedly had a handshake deal with Andrei Kirilenko to bring him in a lower salary? There was a little smoke — Kirilenko opted out of a $10 million deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves to sign a two-year deal worth a little over $3 million per season, and Kirilenko had past ties to Russian Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov — but no fire, as an investigation by the NBA found no wrongdoing. But Kirilenko had more injuries than inspiring moments in Brooklyn, and the team traded him shortly into his second year to the Philadelphia 76ers after he requested time at home to care for his pregnant wife.
Kirilenko spent no time with the 76ers, and after his fourth child was born in February, Kirilenko & family returned to Russia so he could play with CSKA Moscow, one of his first professional teams. It’s likely he’ll finish his professional career there.
Following two of the best seasons of his career, Blatche went on a world tour. With concerns about his off-court indiscretions scaring away NBA teams, Blatche ended up in China playing — and dominating — with the Xinjiang Flying Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association. In 38 games, Blatche averaged ridiculous numbers: 31.1 points, 14.6 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 2.8 steals, 0.9 blocks, and 4 turnovers in 38.6 minutes per game. But the Flying Tigers finished ninth in the CBA standings with a 25-13 record, just missing the playoffs. He is now a free agent, and the Nets still own his “Early Bird” Rights.
Prior to his time in China, Blatche, who is not Filipino, played for the Filipino National Men’s Basketball Team in the FIBA World Cup, averaging a double-double in five games.
Most Nets fans now know Wallace as “Not Damian Lillard,” but he’s also “Not Paul Pierce & Kevin Garnett.” After a season-and-change with the Nets, including a four-year contract worth $40 million, Wallace was shipped off to the Boston Celtics in the Garnett-Pierce blockbuster.
But over a year later, Wallace is somehow the only player involved in that blockbuster deal that’s still with either the Nets or Celtics (not including future draft picks, of course). But that doesn’t mean Wallace is thriving; on the contrary, the reckless, take-no-prisoners style of play that gave him the nickname “Crash” has caught up with Wallace, and through March 15 he had played in just 27 of a possible 65 Celtics games.
Avery Johnson & P.J. Carlesimo: TV
The Nets only gave Avery “The Little General” Johnson 28 games in Brooklyn — many of them without All-Star center Brook Lopez — and he got the boot after a rough December dropped the team to 14-14. The Nets let Johnson’s lead assistant, P.J. Carlesimo, finish out the season before letting him go.
Both stayed in the media spotlight. Johnson & Carlesimo both moved to ESPN after being cut by the Nets. Johnson has popped up on a few different ESPN shows, recently a Grantland podcast with Jalen Rose, and Carlesimo also does occasional color commentary for Boston Celtics road games.
Jason Collins: Yahoo!
The Nets signed Jason Collins, the first openly gay male athlete in one of the four major professional sports, and he finished the 2013-14 season with them. Three weeks into the 2014-15 season, Collins officially announced his retirement from the league to focus on other endeavors, including a spot on the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition, as well as mentoring young gay athletes like NFL draftee Michael Sam. On March 10th, Yahoo! Sports announced that Collins would join them as a basketball analyst.
Jason Kidd: Bucks coach
Despite his team’s post All Star break free fall, Kidd has The Bucks primed for the future.
Jerry Stackhouse: All Over
You may remember Stackhouse as a favorite of The Brooklyn Game, for his ridiculous plus-minus numbers, corner three-point acumen, and legendary singing voice. That marked his last great highlight, as Stackhouse’s contract ran out that season, and he never played in the NBA again.
Though he doesn’t have an official role, Stackhouse has worked with the National Basketball Player’s Association leading up to & since his retirement, and has made no secret of his wish to return to the NBA in a coaching capacity. He’s also the founder of Stackhouse Elite, an AAU program for youth basketball players.
Kris Humphries: Washington
Ahh… The Incredible Hump. Who could forget? Humphries, best known throughout the world for his reality TV exploits with a certain film star, was also an important piece of the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets for three-plus seasons, starting at power forward in just over half of his appearances and racking up 67 double-doubles in a Nets uniform. But Humphries, who signed a two-year deal worth $24 million, was shipped out before his second year in the blockbuster Nets-Celtics trade that brought Kevin Garnett & Paul Pierce to Brooklyn.
Humphries stuck for that lone season in Boston before signing with the Washington Wizards in a sign-and-trade deal for three years and around $13 million. He’s battled a hamstring injury but plays around 20 to 25 minutes per game off the bench for the Wizards. At 29 years old, his game hasn’t changed much — he goes for rebounds, garbage points, and the occasional jumper. As for his love life? We’re not sure about that.
Reggie Evans: Sacramento
Evans flourished in one role with the Nets: starting alongside Brook Lopez and doing his dirty work. But after falling out of the rotation in his second year, Evans was shipped to Sacramento with Jason Terry in a trade that netted Brooklyn Marcus Thornton. Evans has stuck with the Kings since, and played largely the same role that he did with the Nets, grabbing rebounds, committing fouls, and offering up a bit of light-hearted humor. Check out his reaction when he asks Giannis Antetokounmpo his age, and Antetokounmpo lets Evans know he’s only 20 years old.
Shaun Livingston: Golden State
Livingston was a major part of the team’s regeneration post-January 1 last season, slotting in as the off-guard next to Deron Williams that created mismatches all over the floor. But Livingston priced himself right out of Brooklyn: the Nets could only offer him a three-year deal worth approximately $10 million, and Livingston wasn’t missing out on a good paycheck after suffering a devastating knee injury just before his prime hit in 2007.
Livingston ended up signing a three-year deal with the Golden State Warriors for roughly $16 million, and it’s paid off handsomely. The Warriors are the NBA’s best team by record, and Livingston is a key cog for them off the bench.
Jason Terry: Houston
Terry is the forgotten piece of the Nets-Celtics blockbuster, a sharpshooter brimming with confidence that offered one more bit of veteran hubris to a team chock-full of leaders.
But “The JET” never took off in Brooklyn, and he only played 35 forgettable games as he dealt with a knee problem. Midway through the season, Terry was traded to the Sacramento Kings in the deal that sent Marcus Thornton to the Nets. Terry refused to report to the Kings because they were a team in transition, while Terry wanted to play for a championship contender. Terry got his wish: over the summer, he was then sent to the Houston Rockets for peanuts, and he’s become a vital member of their bench rotation as they compete for a championship.
Marcus Thornton: Phoenix
With the Nets needing scoring punch off the bench as they made a playoff run, they took on a bit more salary in Thornton, shipping out Jason Terry and Reggie Evans to Sacramento. The streaky Thornton had no reservations about shooting, and it paid off handsomely in the biggest game of the season — Thornton dropped 14 first-half points in Brooklyn’s Game 7 victory over the Toronto Raptors in the first round of the playoffs.
The Nets dealt away Thornton to the Boston Celtics in the three-team deal that sent Jarrett Jack to Brooklyn. Thornton has since been traded away from Boston to the Phoenix Suns in the Great Trade Deadline Madness Of 2015, and has struggled in spare minutes since the deal. He’ll be a free agent after this season.
C.J. Watson: Indiana
Perhaps known best for his odd beef with Floyd Mayweather (Yes, THAT Floyd Mayweather), culminating in a mini-fight with Nate Robinson, Watson was nonetheless a dependable backup guard for the Nets, hitting 41 percent of his three-pointers in a Nets uniform after signing a one-year minimum contract.
After his lone season with the Nets, Watson signed a three-year deal with the Indiana Pacers to be their backup point guard. Now in his second season calling Conseco Fieldhouse home, Watson hasn’t changed a lick as a player, and the 30-year-old will continue to come off the bench behind a healthy George Hill as the Pacers put their stamp on one of the last two Eastern Conference spots.