NBA insider Chris Mannix checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning, and the Sports Illustrated senior writer commended Danny Ainge and the Celtics for pulling off a blockbuster trade Thursday, agreeing to send Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Nets in exchange for a package headlined by the expiring contract of Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace and three future first-round picks.
The trade stings a bit at first, sure, Mannix said, but the Celtics got great return for a pair of older players with big contracts.
“Boston got the most they could possibly get for both these players,” Mannix said. “I’m going to be honest guys, I’m not sure they could’ve gotten a better haul for them. I’m not sure there is another team out there that would have absorbed one or both of those players and given the Celtics more in return.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow because in the short term you don’t get a whole heck of a lot in the players they get back. … Regardless, they get immeasurably worse in the short term, but I don’t know if they could have gotten more for those players.”
Mannix said Thursday’s deal is a very, very risky one for Brooklyn. The organization has in effect given itself a one-year window to win, and it could very well “backfire in their faces.”
“The Nets are throwing all of their eggs into this one season and hoping they can find a way to get the chemistry to come together and challenge for a championship,” Mannix said. “Throw in the fact that I have no idea how Jason Kidd is going to be able to coach these guys. I say this half in jest, but I’m almost expecting Kidd to resign in midseason and activate himself and hand over coaching responsibilities to Lawrence Frank so he can get one more ring as a player as a backup. It’s just a bizarre situation out there.”
The Celtics, meanwhile, could flip Humphries to the Bobcats for guard Ben Gordon, a deal Mannix said Brooklyn and Charlotte may have explored earlier.
Mannix also expects the Celtics to center their rebuilding around Rajon Rondo. That fact that the team didn’t take a point guard in the first round of the Thursday’s draft when there were several available speaks volumes about the Celtics’ plans.
“It’s a big risk, because nobody has any idea what Rondo’s reaction is to all this, how he’s going to handle being the focal point of a team that’s probably going to be really bad next year,” Mannix said. “There’s no reason to believe they can’t try to build around Rondo these next couple of years and see what happens. If it turns out he’s not capable of doing it, if it turns out it’s not working out, you can always flip him at the trade deadline or at the start of the following season for something better in return.”