Some brief thoughts on the proposed trade that would bring Kevin Garnett & Paul Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets:
- Pierce and Garnett make a combined $27.8 million next year. Since the Nets are a taxpaying team, that means they’d have to send out at least $22.1 million to facilitate the trade (taxpaying teams can receive 125% of their outgoing salary in trades, plus $100,000). Humphries and Wallace alone are just a few thousand dollars short of that difference, hence the inclusion of Tornike Shengelia to balance it out.
- A starting five of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Brook Lopez is a formidable one in the Eastern Conference, if only for one season. Depending on how you feel about Garnett’s knees and Pierce’s ever-consistent career arc, the Nets would probably improve on their 49-win season last year. The average age of these five starters would be just about 32 years old next season, with Lopez the only one under 29, and since Pierce comes off the books next season (at 37 years old), my guess is they’d part with him then.
- The trade is an obvious short-term move, with some long-term implications. Pierce and Garnett could both conceivably come off the books after the 2013-14 season (Garnett’s contract is only guaranteed for $6 million if waived). It would clean Wallace’s contract off the books, saving the Nets a little over $14 million if they waive Garnett. But barring other moves, the team would still be capped out: between the team’s “Big 3,” Mirza Teletovic, and Reggie Evans, the Nets still have a little under $64 million allocated — and that’s not including cap holds for open roster spots and options for MarShon Brooks, Tyshawn Taylor, and any other players the Nets draft or sign in that time. However, it would make potential maneuvers easier after this season.
- The move would be a puzzling one when you consider the Nets organization’s repeated mantra of “up-tempo” and “adding athleticism” since hiring Jason Kidd. Pierce is one of the more methodical (read: slow) players in the game, and Garnett’s athleticism left him a few years ago. The Celtics ranked about the league average in pace this past season, but it certainly wasn’t because of those two.
- The additions would vastly help the other aspect that the Nets have harped on — shooting. Replacing Gerald Wallace & Reggie Evans for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, from a shooting perspective, is akin to replacing a pellet gun with two army tanks. Garnett is almost exclusively a midrange jump shooter at this point, and with success, as you can see from Garnett’s heat map created by Kirk Goldsberry. It’s not hard to imagine a lot of pick-and-pops between Williams and Garnett ending well, especially with the amount of space on the floor. Similarly, Pierce has become an elite spot-up shooter — almost 19% of his possessions last season came in spot-up situations, and he shot 41% on spot-up threes last season. The Nets haven’t talked too much about defense, but Garnett is one of the league’s elite help defenders even at his *ahem* advanced age, something the Nets sorely lacked from their bigs this season.
- Billy King’s proposed deals with other teams tend to get big and unwieldy, so some potential scenarios: adding Mirza Teletovic and Tyshawn Taylor to the Humphries/Wallace/Shengelia tandem allows the Nets to take on a whopping $32.75 million, which would allow them to add either Courtney Lee or Jason Terry to the deal. Lee’s contract is guaranteed through 2015-16, Terry’s ends a year earlier, and both contracts are guaranteed. The Nets could theoretically add MarShon Brooks instead of Taylor to get the same result, if they don’t trade Brooks to the Minnesota Timberwolves for the 26th pick tonight. The Nets could also include Keith Bogans in a sign-and-trade, as long as the deal leaves the Celtics under the “tax apron” of approximately $75 million, which is doable and likely.