Grade the Trade: Nets acquire Thaddeus Young.
Ryan Carbain: B+. Young represents precisely the type of player the Nets need: athletic, defensive-minded, with the range and passing to play alongside Plumlee and Lopez.
But, make no mistake, the Nets will miss Kevin Garnett. He was unquestionably the team’s best defender, rebounder, and critical to holding the locker room together. Players like Plumlee and Jefferson will miss having Garnett around.
Benjamin Nadeau: B+. The trade in itself is rather incredible; swapping Garnett for an actual piece that fills a terribly large hole in the team. But I have trouble awarding this trade an A for a few reasons: it’s a trade that the Timberwolves pursued, and the Nets couldn’t move any other pieces.
I’m a huge Brook Lopez fan, and won’t be mad when he finally opts out, middle fingers blazing after being involved in trade rumors for two years. I’m glad Brook Lopez is here and Thad Young has arrived, but I just can’t simply give it an A because the Nets got embarrassed once again.
William Rausch: B-. The Nets sent a legend out to retire at home, shed some short-term salary, and get a free look at a guy that could be a solid fourth option on a good team (which the Nets are not). But what if Young doesn’t use his early termination option and he puts another $10 million on the Nets’ already heavy books for 2015-16?
Grade the Trade: Timberwolves acquire Kevin Garnett.
Carbain: C-. There are reasons to like the move: the Timberwolves have every reason to tank, and bringing home Garnett is a boon to a young team who needs to learn to win. It’s also something that free agents in the future may remember. But Young has fans across the league, and you have to think they could’ve gotten a better haul, possibly including picks.
Nadeau: A+. Undoubtedly, Saunders and the Wolves could’ve got much more talent-wise for somebody like Young, but that’s not what they were aiming for. This allows for the Wolves to full-on tank, grabs the universally praised Garnett to tutor future world-beater Andrew Wiggins, and begins the process of turning over the franchise to the greatest player in the team’s history. Garnett will tutor the kids, retire with the all-time seasons played record, and may eventually own the whole damn team in the end. This one was a Zach LaVine through-the-legs slam dunk.
Rausch: B. You can’t blame the T-Wolves for bringing their franchise player back home to retire where he played for 12 seasons and developed from a gangly teenager into the Freak that he is today. Or can you? While the Garnett human interest story is great, the Wolves gave up a first rounder (albeit a non-lottery) to get Young last summer and they are already giving up on him for a nostalgia trade?
Playoff push: Does the trade put the Nets in?
Carbain: I hope so, but I’m a skeptic. The Heat got significantly better (though Bosh’s health puts the season in peril), and so did the Pistons when they swooped in on Reggie Jackson. The Nets got better, but are probably not good enough.
Nadeau: Potentially, but not for the reasons you think. As we wrote in our midseason grades, the Nets’ success doesn’t depend on the acquisition of Young, but on the health of Deron Williams. If he’s better post-All-Star break, the Nets have a shot as good as any. I’ve always been an optimist, so, in the end, I think the Nets sneak in somehow. I don’t know how I typed those words either.
Rausch: No. It certainly helps a bit, but this wasn’t a slam dunk deal for some extra April revenue. The team currently in the eighth spot, the Miami Heat, got much better at the trade deadline with the addition of Dragic. Then again, Chris Bosh is potentially out for the season with blood clots. Hopefully he recovers, but if he’s out for the season, who knows?