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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

The Blockbuster Trade That Leveled The Nets Was Just As Doomed As You Remember

Image: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Image: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News today dropped an excellent history of the incredibly ill-fated and lopsided 2013 trade that sent Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce from Boston to the Brooklyn Nets, in exchange for a bundle of unprotected draft picks and pick-swaps that wound up including this year’s first overall.


The story is loaded with delicious details like this one:

Prior to their first day at training camp at Duke University, each player, coach and staff member was given a stack of poker chips with a Nets insignia. They were all told to bring one of these chips each day to practice and throw them in a pile, symbolizing that they were, to steal the poker phrase, “All In.”

It became cruel irony only a couple months later when the creator of this motivational gimmick, Lawrence Frank, was the first person booted off Nets Island.”

The details are especially unflattering for poor Deron Williams—teammates were reportedly deeply disillusioned by his psychological fragility, and the fragility of his doomed ankles. It reads like some significant part of the team’s lack of cohesion—the part that can’t be easily chalked up to Kevin Garnett being as past his prime as a jack-o-lantern in March—can be traced back to KG and Pierce being overwhelmed by the wayward ways of the Nets organization and its resident star point guard. Then there’s this:

Around the All-Star break of [then-head coach Lionel Hollins’] first season, Deron Williams called a meeting to discuss his issues with his coach. It ended with Williams so distraught he had to be restrained from attacking Hollins.

You will be very happy if you spend the next little while reading the whole report—unless, of course, you are a Nets fan. Woof.

Staff Writer, Deadspin