The future looks vastly different for the Nets and Celtics two years after the eight-player deal that brought Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn, according to Chris Forsberg and Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.com. The key to the trade for Boston was a parcel of draft picks that included the Nets’ unprotected first-rounders in 2014, 2016 and 2018, along with the option to swap first-round picks in 2017. As a result, the 7-5 Celtics are looking at a draft bonanza over the next three seasons, while the 2-11 Nets must focus on free agency to have any shot at rebuilding. Mazzeo notes that Brooklyn GM Billy King is in the final year of his contract, and Nets fans are worried that if he stays with the team next summer, he will spend a possible $40MM in cap space on lesser free agents if he doesn’t land Kevin Durant or Mike Conley. Forsberg speculates that Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge may be willing to trade the Nets’ 2016 pick to acquire an impact player for this season.
There’s more news from the Atlantic Division:
- Brooklyn coach Lionel Hollins told Brian Robb of CBSBoston.com that he doesn’t dwell on the traded picks and believes the Nets can be successful without them. “I think more importantly it’s what we do daily, the foundation that we lay,” Hollins said. “There’s always second-round picks that are bought. There’s always second-round picks that are traded.”
- Four productive games off the bench have the Celtics thinking about keeping Avery Bradley in that role, Forsberg writes in a separate story. Bradley has been a starter in Boston for the past three seasons, but switched to a reserve role earlier this month while returning from a calf injury. “I’m not thinking,” Bradley said about the difference in coming off the bench. “Even if I did happen to go back to the starting lineup or whatever, I just need to continue to just play hard. That’s the most important thing for all of us. I feel like the best way to play basketball is without thinking. That’s when we are all at our best.”
- Bruno Caboclo, whom Toronto took with the 20th pick in the 2014 NBA draft, is considered a franchise player for the Raptors‘ new D-League squad, according to Michael Grange of SportsNet. The 20-year-old Brazilian appeared in just eight games for Toronto last season but is getting attention with his play for Raptors 905.