Let’s be clear; the Boston Celtics have long been my one, single, favorite NBA team.
But sometimes two is better than one. And, sans Manny Ramirez, my favorite pro athlete is Paul Pierce. So, I’ve got to stick with my guy.
When the rumors regarding a potential trade between the Celtics and the Brooklyn Nets started to spread like greased lightning across cyber space, I will admit that my first reaction was pure excitement. With a win-now mentality, svelte jerseys, and the combo of Deron Williams and Joe Johnson in their back court, I couldn’t help but root for Brooklyn this past season, particularly after they gave me free stuff at their opening playoff game with Chicago a couple of months ago (I LOVE FREE STUFF). So, if the Celtics were going to dump Captain Paul and the Big Ticket, Brooklyn was the optimal place for such dumping to occur, at least for me.
Still, I thought the deal looked like a long shot. A pipe dream. Too good to be true.
And then it did happen.
In what has to be considered a blockbuster trade of Big Apple-sized proportions, the Nets agreed upon a deal with the Boston Celtics yesterday that sent three first round picks, Gerald Wallace, MarShon Brooks, Keith Bogans, Kris Joseph, and Kris Humphries to Beantown in exchange for Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry. For my money, the new Brooklyn Nets are the coolest team in NBA history. And a serious title contender as well.
My goodness the Nets should be good. Their starting lineup (Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Brook Lopez) quite literally carries the luster of an All-Star lineup. Sure, the Nets still need to fill in their bench, health will be a concern, and Jason Kidd is a novice head coach, but this team has the look of a championship-caliber squad. Everyone in the starting lineup, sans KG, is capable of dropping close to 20 points a night. They will score. At will. Do they have too many stars? I doubt it; neither Pierce nor Garnett demand a high volume of touches. Both let the game come to them on the offensive end.
Defensively, they should also be good, and much improved. The combo of the incredibly physical and intense Garnett and Reggie Evans down low is sure to drive opponents’ front courts bananas. Pierce and Johnson are solid defenders also.
And, of course, Garnett and Pierce should help foster a winning culture–the Nets seemed to lack heart when they lost to the injured and inferior Bulls in the playoffs this spring.
On paper, the sky is the limit with this Nets team. But, whether or not they can meet what are sure to be incredible expectations (for more on the Nets and other much-hyped teams, check out Danny Cooper’s post on the issue here), I will be along for the ride, rooting for the flashy franchise.
This trade leaves me ready to follow the Truth and become a true Nets fan, traitorous though it may sound. But don’t get me wrong, I don’t plan on shirking all of my responsibilities as a Celtics fan. I might be able to jump aboard a bandwagon in one day (honestly, my love of the Nets has been building for a while) , but I certainly can’t leap off one that quickly. That said, I do think I’ll be rooting for the Celtics to lose for the moment (and not just because of an ill-advised bet I made)–a well executed tank job could put them in the running for super-prospect Andrew Wiggins in next season’s draft.
On the court, I’ll be more interested in watching my new team, the new-look Nets. I can’t wait to see Joe Johnson, with his sublime handle and refined mid-range game, playing off of the eternally gifted marksman that is Pierce. Nor can I wait to see Deron Williams running pick and rolls with KG. Brooklyn will be a beautiful team to watch offensively and a rugged team defensively. My type of team.
So, Hello Brooklyn! I can dig what you’re doing and wanna hop aboard. Let’s go!