A Day Of Change In The Atlantic

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NEW YORK – The new Atlantic Division is going to take some getting used to.

It’s just a couple of months removed from the Boston Celtics not winning the division for the first time in five years. And now, we have Boston playing a season without Paul Pierce for the first time this century.

In a blockbuster deal that can’t go through until July 10, Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry are coming to Brooklyn in exchange for Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Reggie Evans, Keith Bogans, Kris Joseph and three first-round picks. The deal has to wait until the 10th – the end of the free agency moratorium period – because Bogans has to be signed to a new contract first. (Nets GM Billy King met with the media Thursday night, but when asked about the moves he made, only spoke of draft pick Mason Plumlee.)

After a somewhat disappointing first season in their new home, the Nets are pushing forward and willing to pay a huge luxury tax bill. Their new starting lineup – Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Pierce, Garnett and Brook Lopez – is set to make more than $82 million next season. Mikhail Prokhorov’s bankroll knows no limits and King isn’t afraid to pull the trigger on major deals.

As long as they’re mostly healthy and kept fresh throughout the season, Pierce and Garnett will make the Nets better. Pierce gives them much better spacing and shooting at small forward than Wallace did, and Garnett is obviously a huge defensive upgrade for a team that ranked 19th on that end of the floor last season. Along with new coach Jason Kidd, the old Celtics will give the Nets some much-needed character and toughness.

The Celtics are obviously taking a huge step backward. Danny Ainge has finally hit the reset button on his roster, and rightfully so. Boston was a mediocre squad (and rather dreadful offensively) even before Rajon Rondo tore his ACL in late January. With no guarantee that Rondo will be 100 percent next season, no way to make significant improvements with Pierce’s and Garnett’s salaries still on the payroll, and a strong draft class coming up in 2014, now is the right time to be bad.

The Philadelphia 76ers are clearly ready to be bad, too, sending 24-year-old All-Star Jrue Holiday to New Orleans for the draft rights to Nerlens Noel (the No. 6 pick in Thursday’s draft) and the Hornets’ 2014 first round pick. So, Philly will rebuild with (likely) four Lottery picks in two years, including Michael Carter-Williams, who they selected at No. 11 on Thursday and who replaces Holiday at point guard.

With how bad they’ll be next season, the Sixers will have a decent chance to get the much-hyped Andrew Wiggins with next year’s No. 1 pick. New GM Sam Hinkie was quick to put his imprint on the franchise and is clearly willing to wait to see his plan come to fruition. Just 10 1/2 months after trading for Andrew Bynum, Philly is going in a whole new direction. And it may be the closest any team has come to replicating the method in which the Oklahoma City Thunder built a championship contender.

For now, the Celtics and Sixers will be buried near the bottom of the Eastern Conference, while the Nets and Knicks reside somewhere near the top and the Toronto Raptors hope that a full season of Rudy Gay can get them back to the playoffs.

It will be a very different Atlantic Division come October, but it’s hard to argue with the moves made by the three teams in question. Brooklyn’s success obviously hinges on the health of Pierce and Garnett, but they didn’t give up much in terms of warm bodies to get them, they upgraded at both forward positions, and the picks they gave up will likely be in the 20s. They’re always willing to buy additional picks if they need to.

The Celtics are taking a step backward at the right time. And the Sixers weren’t going far with Holiday and Thaddeus Young as their best players. No one knows how good either team will be three or four years from now, but hitting the floor now gives them higher ceilings down the line.

In one day, the Atlantic Division underwent major changes that will be felt for a long time.

40 Comments

  1. fred says:

    I just hope that the rebuild doesnt take too long…. i dont wanna go back to the 90s

  2. Teid says:

    I am saddened by this. KG and PP deserved to finish out their careers in the good town of Boston. But change comes, and they are probably retiring sometime soon. Both legends. Both bleed green even though they are now Nets. Pierce and KG made me believe in Boston once more. I am so saddened by this move but I understand it. It will be strange to see them play in those uniforms but Boston understands that this was for the good of the Celtics in regards to rebuilding. They are always welcomed. Always.
    I wish them well. Goodbye Rivers era, my hopes and dreams travel with you. Thanks for everything.

  3. Matthew says:

    This looks like a good deal for the Nets on paper BUT they should have stayed young and tried to grab a few fresh free agents.

  4. Let's go Heat says:

    Every Heat heaters or media arguing big 3 joining together now disappear. No one criticizes Nets with all five starting stars and sixth man Jason Terry. So, it is obvious that those Heat heaters and media hold double standard for Heat. Can any haters argue my comment? Please!

  5. CelticFan says:

    I’m A Celtic Fan because of KG, and Paul Pierce and now they’ve traded them to the Nets for some vet. players and 3 future first round picks. I was shocked of Danny Ainge decision of this. I understand that he wants to rebuild the Celtics but this is inevitable.Paul Pierce and KG are in their Twilight Years. I just wished that he Danny Ainge would still consider Paul Pierce retire a Celtic. and KG too? I mean KG can still coach those young players and is still a phenomenal defensive player, He was my inspiration in playing basketball. So what would you want for Pierce? Retire as a Celtic with the 15 years he had gone through with his heart and soul or just HAVE a CHANCE of winning another ring? Banner of a Celtic? or just a Ring. I would go where KG and Paul Pierce go.

  6. Bu says:

    I’m a Celtics fan too & difficult to see KG & PP leave. However, the deal is actually good for the Celtics, getting some strong role players to build up a solid ground & building up some trading chips along the way with the salary cap & picks.

    Remember, there’s still the free agent market out there & Celtics can pick up a few good pieces along the way.

    I just wonder where they’ll find a high caliber coach.

    For the Nets, they gave away too many key pieces to backup the starting 5. So it’s a gamble with KG & Lopez as the protector of the rim. All other guys are not defense strong. They’ll likely have a hard time holding down the Heat or Knicks.

  7. Number 13 says:

    I read Boston area websites and everyone applauds Ainge for finally pulling the trigger on a rebuild. I read NBA.com and everyone thinks he is an idiot.

    I love the Celtics and I’m sad to see KG and PP go, but the rebuild was inevitable.

    It’s also funny how everyone thinks they are definitely going to be a garbage team next season. Plenty of good players are left and free agency hasn’t even started yet. All these draft picks are excellent bargaining chips.

  8. Kimmy says:

    I agree, why would Rondo stick around? Whar are the Celtics thinking? Trading for draft picks?? That is not always fruitful. I think the Nets got the better end of that deal. Could Peirce and Garnett now be traded from the Nets to the Clippers? That was an interesting bug to put in our ears. This is all so interesting. The plot thickens. Rondo and Jeff Green to the Hawks. Josh Smith to the Celtics.

  9. Rondofan says:

    head up celtics we’ll be back soon enough Ubuntu!!!

  10. Lakers4life says:

    I feel sorry for Rondo and Pierce.It’s like they gave up on Rondo and for Pierce it’s like they just said screw him.

  11. Thunderstruck says:

    Wow Brooklyn has a really good chance to go far in the playoffs if KG and Paul Pierce are healthy. It’s still hard to believe the Celtics got rid of KG and Paul like that. At least let them retire there since they were the core players. Rondo may have a very hard time next year and when he comes back he may have to score way more (which I believe he can) and have to rely on Jeff Green and Avery Bradley. For The Knicks, Melo has to just keep doing what he’s doing and get some more help from Iman Shumpert if J.R Smith doesn’t return. Of course the raptors have a chance to get the 7th or 8th seed now that they have Rudy Gay and but they won’t get any higher in the standings than that next season. The 76ers obviously need help because they made an insane move of getting rid of Jrue Holiday who was very good last season. The 76ers are of course in a rebuilding mode. People forget how they were 1 game away from the Eastern Conference Finals when they went 7 games with the Celtics in the 2nd round in 11-12 season. So it’s going to be very interesting for the eastern conference probable playoff teams (Bulls, Pacers, Heat, Knicks, Nets, Hawks,) to play the changed Atlantic Division Teams.

  12. shivy says:

    wow i live in New York and I am a die heart knicks fan and I think nets will be good this year but boston has a good chance too next year is a hard alantic division

  13. Mike says:

    As a Celtics fan this is a bitter pill to swallow, even if I do understand Ainge’s logic. I just wish Boston would have gotten some decent compensation. The unknown is next year’s draft–if Boston gets some great players, then it was a gamble that paid off. I love Pierce, and wish he would have finished in Boston. I really hope the Nets have a great year next season!

  14. Anonymous says:

    No one is bottoming out yet, there’s still a great free agent market to go through

  15. JZOU says:

    For all of you that says Celtics shouldn’t have traded Pierce (and some says even Garnett) because they should’ve retired in green, have you thought that maybe Pierce and Garnett are not ready to just lay back and wait for retirement? Maybe they still have a lot of heart (they always do) and want another go at the ring, especially after Ray Allen got it. And keeping Pierce in a rebuilding phase Celtics is certainly not better than giving him a legit shot at the title with a stellar Starting Five and decent bench of Jet, Marshon Brooks etc…at Brooklyn! Plus Garnett has a no-trade clause on his contract, so he definitely had to agree to the trade in order for him to be moved, so obviously he’s happy about it. I hope they do win another title, Net’s should be good!

  16. KG to LA mayB? says:

    Anybody susoect the possibility of a Nets/Clippers trade? No idea who, but would that be possible?

    • Common Sense says:

      Are they allowed to?
      That was my question.
      Doc would love it, I’m not sure I would though. I love DJ and think that kid has more potential than anyone. This year he finally broke out with his confidence and was dunking all over everyone. I would hate for them to deal him or Bledsoe for anyone else. The clippers are the most athletic team in the NBA, if they deal DJ or EBled, that would no longer be so. I also can’t see Nets taking anyone. I think they are shooting for a ring NEXT YEAR OR BUST!
      That’s why they took the two main Celtics, because they hate the HEAT and they only have one more year or so to get a ring!! And who has more fire than Garnett?

  17. steagle says:

    *jersey

  18. steagle says:

    It’s a sad day if Pierce ends his career in another city. After everything he has given the Celtics franchise he should be allowed to remain for his final 1 or 2 seasons and retire a Celtic. Dallas would never trade Dirk, San Antonio would never trade Timmy, and LA would never trade Kobe… why does Ainge have to trade Pierce? If this goes through, this will be the worst Celtics squad I could possibly imagine, with the lone exceptions of Rondo and Green.

    Well Paul if you’re reading this, thank you for everything you gave us for so long, through the good times and the bad, and we’re all shocked and saddened it’s ending this way. But your rafter will be raised in the Garden as soon as you retire and your legacy will always remain in Boston.

  19. Unkle Daddy says:

    And one more thing, since we’re shipping guys out of Boston, can we ship Jeff Green back to OKC… (Yes, I understand he is a building piece, I’m just saying, Perkins stinks, he needs to go, I don’t know what happened to him).

  20. hibbs says:

    sad day for the celtics :(

  21. celtics 12th seed now says:

    wow, what a senseless trade für Cs.They get no useful pieces in return…..Playoffs are far away now….at least next two seasons…..

  22. Adam says:

    Watch Rondo go to the lakers next…

  23. Grang Tapes says:

    I really thought Pierce would see out the end of his career with the C’s. It makes me think that Kobe will spend his last days with another team, perhaps.

  24. Unkle Daddy says:

    I just can’t believe this trade, I understand that the Celtics were in a position of having to rebuild, but moving Pierce is just unexpectable, he should have played his last season as a Celtic under his current contract. Then retire a Celtic. I don’t think moving Garnett is as big a deal, but he shouldn’t have been moved either. If he had to be moved it should have been back into a Wolves jersey.

  25. […] Boston Celtics on Thursday completed the detonation of the team that won the 2008 NBA title, agreeing to send Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, along with guard Jason Terry, to the Brooklyn Nets […]

  26. Requiem says:

    Wait…aren’t the Hornets the new Pelicans by now!?

  27. polscholes says:

    Sad Day for the NBA & The C’s… No respect given for both of those great superstars. The truth gave everything to this team even when they were in the deep at the end of the 90′s. He should have end there
    Like Reggie :)

  28. LINs says:

    Man, i like the Cs but the big three still gone in the end. Would have been nice to see Pierce remain green though its business. Although, i feel loyalty should still be allowed to be kept alive, y’ know what i am saying? Anyway, its looking like Ray did the best move of his career. Left when he had a say, coz Danny was definitely gonna bring the hammer down regardless of whoever it is. As long as it ain’t working, he’ll fix it. At least Ray saw this, and left and won a championship. Ray Allen is 2 time NBA Champion, 2 Rings, 2 Titles. Can’t take nothing away, peace.

    • LINs says:

      The 2 time NBA champion will stay!! We wont peat will we?? Where you at nets, where u at hawks?!? Nobody’s going down that line, too far, too long, too old! 81 mil, 81 mil!! How u gonna be backed up?? Marshon? Reggie? Where your help at? Don’t reach, dont reach. Let me teach! Old guzzies! Peace out

  29. artifex says:

    OK, now I’m really shocked and somehow ****… let’s say unhappy.
    If Celtics see a need to trade Garnett, I don’t like it but I could understand.
    But also trading Pierce, that’s not good at all.
    And even JET one of the few good aquirements. That’s too much to bare.

    All might be OK if they get a great compensation but THAT??
    Humphreys?? Wallace?? I don’t see they made any big impact where they played, so how should they turn around the Celtics? And the others are ballast Nets were able to get free – and Celtics have no room for new players again.
    Only hope are the future picks?
    Maybe that gets relativated once I see them play but for now it seems 3 steps backward to me!

    • YeahBruh says:

      All of the players acquired are working on expiring contracts (and make less than Pierce and Garnet). The point is to free up cap space for the Celtics so that next season and on they can really start making moves again. Accept it now that Boston is meant to be a garbage team this year so that in the long run you can be back to being good.

  30. New Guy says:

    Wow, a big change. Well I’m waiting For my Toronto Raptors to make the Play-offs. I still can’t believe they traded Pierce and Garnett and Terry. At least let Pierce finish his career in Boston.

    • NICCCE says:

      For damn sure, I cant wait for my Raps to Rap up the east, but with the starting line up of deron will, joe JOhn, The Truth, Big Ticket and Lopez, got damn….the bench leave alot to be desired with mainly terry being the name but that starting line up is better than Lakers….but as it has been seen in the past, its not always about the individual talent but how that individual talent meshes. Kidd wont even have to coach this season with the Vocals of Kevin but damn they got a starting line up

  31. J says:

    end of an era for boston… *tears*
    rondo will say bye bye boston too
    the nets are gonna be a force only if garnett and pierce are playing well, healthy, not aging and are at there best

  32. […] Boston Celtics on Thursday completed the detonation of the team that won the 2008 NBA title, agreeing to send Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, along with guard Jason Terry, to the Brooklyn Nets […]

  33. Gillsy says:

    The trade with the Net and Celtics is good except for what do with Wallace, but the picks and expiring contracts will be good. I would like to know if this effects their deal with the Hawks for Smith which maybe mostly picks, getting Evans is a benefit for the Celtics with someone who can rebound. I would presume that Danny will look at trading Wallace at some point. The Sixers are interesting and are looking to rebuild quickly, with two picks this year and two next year. I have herd that because they got Noel that Bynum may not be part of their plans, but wouldn’t you want both of them teamed with Carter-Williams to make an interesting starting line up.

    • treston says:

      I think it was a dumb trade. Paul pierce and Kevin Garnett are both old don’t have that many years left. The nets gave the Celtics first round draft picks for so what will happen if kg retire soon…I jus think it was a bad idea..I would have built the team around deron williams and Joe Johnson

  34. Wilt #13 says:

    I cannot say Im not shocked.
    But Brooklyn needs to upgrade ther’ye bench with fast and atlathic players.