Last summer, Danny Ainge was universally praised around the league for the trade return he fetched from the Brooklyn Nets for giving up Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett as he looked to build for the Celtics’ future.
As a quick refresher, let’s go over that full exchange from July 2013:
Nets received: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and an overpaid Jason Terry
Celtics received: Keith Bogans, Gerald Wallace, Marshon Brooks, Kris Humphries, three unprotected first round picks (2014, 2016, 2018) and the right to swap first round picks with the Nets in 2017.
One other aspect of that trade the Celtics received from Brooklyn was a $10.4 million dollar trade exception. A TPE allows the team to absorb that salary figure in a trade without including any outgoing players in the deal.
After nearly one year, Danny Ainge put his TPE to use yesterday in the three-team deal with Brooklyn and Cleveland, using just about all of the TPE to absorb the salaries of Tyler Zeller and Marcus Thornton. The Celtics also landed a protected first round pick in the deal.
If we go back and add that to Boston’s haul for Pierce and Garnett, here’s the full breakdown of the assets they have received.
Three unprotected first round picks from Brooklyn, one top-10 protected pick from Cleveland, the right to swap picks with Brooklyn in 2017, Tyler Zeller (#17 overall pick in 2012), a few serviceable players on bad contracts (Brooks, Wallace, Humphries), and an unguaranteed contract trade chip (Keith Bogans). Oh, and Boston was also able to dump Jason Terry’s deal in the trade, too.
Considering that the Nets were eliminated last season in the second round of the postseason and that Paul Pierce may not even re-sign with the team this summer, Ainge’s fleecing of Nets general manager Billy King may eventually go down as one of the most lopsided trades in NBA history.