Back in 2013, the Brooklyn Nets agreed to send four players and three unprotected first-round draft picks and the right to swap a first-rounder in 2017 to Boston for a package including future Hall of Famers Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. The deal ended up being one of the worst trades in the history of professional sports from Brooklyn’s perspective, but has set the Celtics up to potentially be the next NBA dynasty.
The Celtics whiffed on one pick received from the Nets – James Young in 2014 – but also received picks that turned into Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, and later traded a pick from Brooklyn in a deal with Cleveland to land Kyrie Irving. The Nets, meanwhile, los to LeBron’s Heat in the playoffs in their only full season with Garnett and Pierce, and have won fewer than 30 games in each of the last three seasons.
On Thursday, it was reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that the Houston Rockets, a team clearly in win-now mode, have offered the Minnesota Timberwolves a package of four first-round draft picks in exchange for disgruntled All-Star Jimmy Butler. Some fans and analysts have drawn comparisons to the Nets’ failed deal – but Paul Pierce, for one, believes the Rockets should go all-out to land another star player, even if it means mortgaging the future.
“Initially I would say no, because you see what happened to the Nets. Mortgage the future for the now. But this is the Rockets. They have a barometer on where they are right now. They’re a team that pushed the Warriors to seven games.
Before, when I got traded to the Nets, it was like ‘we just put this team together.’ It wasn’t like they had a nucleus that was there that was like a game away from the championship. Houston Rockets [were] right there. Darryl Morey is obsessed with beating the Warriors… I say you go and do it. This is the move that can possibly help you get over the top to beat the Warriors. If you have a chance to add to Chris Paul and James Harden, Jimmy Butler? You go for it. You go all in.”
Jimmy Butler was curiously left out of the Timberwolves lineup Friday night with an illness, so a trade could potentially be on the horizon.
It’s unclear if the Timberwolves would be willing to accept the Rockets’ offer, as there’s no guarantee that any of these first-round picks could lead to franchise-altering selections. If the Rockets continue to be one of the best teams in the West, it’s possible that the Wolves may end up getting a handful of picks in the mid-20s, and the chances of landing an All-Star from that position are slim. Still, Butler wants out, and Minnesota may not receive a better offer.