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Numbers Game: Celtics send core vets to Nets

Scott Cullen
6/30/2013 10:33:40 PM
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The Boston Celtics are blowing up their core and sent three veterans to the Brooklyn Nets, raising expectations for the Nets next season.

Numbers Game examines a deal shipping Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry to Brooklyn.

The Nets Get: PF Kevin Garnett, SF Paul Pierce and SG Jason Terry.

Garnett, 37, is a future Hall of Famer who is the only active player with more than 25,000 points and 13,000 rebounds and he's remained effective in recent years, in part because he has spent more of his time at centre.

At the same time, Garnett misses more and more time with injuries -- 85 games over the last five seasons -- and his minutes (29:44 per game) were his lowest since his rookie season.

Nevertheless, Garnett had 14.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 0.9 blocks per game in 2012-2013, numbers that would be readily accepted in the Nets' frontcourt next season. Garnett excelled at centre in recent seasons, where he is more athletic than many of the centres he matched up with. If he's spending more time at power forward for Brooklyn, he loses some of that quickness advantage.

Garnett has two years and a little more than $23.5-million due over the next two seasons.

While KG ranks second among active scorers, 35-year-old Paul Pierce sits fourth, but has continued to be an efficient scorer because he gets to the line about six times per game and shoots well enough from three-point range to have the same effective field goal percentage (.502) as he did when he was 29, while scoring 18.6 points and grabbing 6.3 rebounds per game.

At this stage of his career, it would make sense for Pierce to handle a lesser workload, 28 minutes per game instead of 33, but he can still be a valuable contributor to the Nets' offence.

Pierce has one year left on his deal, paying a bit more than $15.3-million.

Rounding out the aging trio of Celtics heading to Brooklyn, 35-year-old Jason Terry is coming off a season in which he played his fewest minutes per game (26.9) and his 10.1 points per game was his lowest since his rookie season, 1999-2000.

While Terry played a lesser role and has a limited game, he can still shoot and, providing offence off the bench, can be a useful player in the Nets' rotation.

Terry has two years, and $10.675-million left on his deal.

The Nets are obviously a better team with this trio added to the mix, but is it enough for them to compete with the best teams in the East? That still seems like it's beyond their reach.

The Celtics Get: SF Gerald Wallace, PF Kris Humphries, SG MarShon Brooks, SF Kris Joseph, SG Keith Bogans and first-round picks in 2014, 2016 and 2018, with an option to flip first-round picks in 2017.

Wallace, 30, has been a very effective if oft-injured player in his career, but he's coming off a season in which he scored just 7.7 points per game, shooting 39.7% from the field, his lowest in both categories since 2003-2004.

While Wallace is an offensive liability at this point, he can still play adequate defence but, given what's left on the Boston roster, they probably need him to be more than a one-dimensional defender if he's going to provide any value.

Wallace has three years, at more than $30.3-million, left on his contract.

28-year-old Kris Humphries had been a productive player from a couple seasons with the Nets, averaging a double-double (points and rebounds) for 2010-2011 and 2011-2012, but his role was reduced significantly last season and he averaged 5.8 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. He's a notorious black hole on offence, never averaging more than 1.5 assists per game.

His expiring deal could provide future value to the Celtics and, given their needs up front, Humphries could find some playing time as part of the Celtics' rotation.

Humphries has one season, at $12-million, remaining on his deal.

Brooks is a 24-year-old who had a pretty strong rookie season, scoring 12.6 points per game, in 2011-2012, but was a spare part last season, playing only 12:29 per game after playing 29:23 as a rookie. He'll have a chance to play a larger role in a depleted Celtics' perimeter rotation.

Brooks is due less than $1.3-million next season, the last year of his entry-level deal, though there's a team option for $2.3-million the following season.

A second-round pick of the Celtics in 2012, Kris Joseph played 54 minutes with Boston and New Jersey last season. The 24-year-old Montreal native is still battling for a spot in the league and his contract has a team option, for $788,872 in 2013-2014.

Bogans' inclusion in the deal could work out really well for the 33-year-old who actually played more than Brooks for the Nets last season. As a sign-and-trade piece to this trade, to make the salaries balance, Bogans could be looking at a contract that pays him approximately $4.4-million next season, a veritable jackpot for an aging role player whose defence isn't near what it once was. He might find a spot in the Celtics' rotation, or could be stuck with playing time scraps.

Boston has decided to rebuild for the future but aren't exactly bottoming out as they shed three core veterans. Taking on Wallace's three-year contract, in particular, isn't conducive to regenerating the roster, but the rest of the financial obligations are minimal and the Celtics can see what Jeff Green and J.J. Sullinger can provide in more significant roles alongside PG Rajon Rondo, who is unquestionably the leader of this team now.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.

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