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How does the Pierce/Garnett-to-Nets trade rate in Celtics history?


Let me first state that the question presented in the title has not been fully answered yet. Mainly because the Jay Team consisting of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen brown has not yet peaked. But this needs to be discussed.

Trading and drafting for Bill Russell, Tom Heinsohn and K C Jones

In 1956, Red Auerbach acquired all three future Hall-Of-Famers, drafting both Heiny and K C - while also sending Cliff Hagan and Ed Macauley off to the St. Louis Hawks to bring in Russ via the same draft. Big Bill was a true gamble for most NBA GMs, but Red just knew he was a major difference-maker (per Wikipedia):

In the 1956 NBA draft, Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach set his sights on Russell, thinking his defensive toughness and rebounding prowess were the missing pieces the Celtics needed.[1] In retrospect, Auerbach's thoughts were unorthodox. In that period, centers and forwards were defined by their offensive output, and their ability to play defense was secondary.

Drafting Larry Bird a year early as a junior-eligible

Auerbach, in another crafty move, took Indiana State star, Larry Bird, with the 6th pick in the 1978 draft. Bird still had a year left at Indiana State and finally signed with Boston in time for the 1979-80 season. As no surprise, the NBA changed the rule after Red's  heist of the future superstar (per Wikipedia):
NBA draft eligibility rules were changed to prevent teams from drafting players before they were ready to sign, a rule known as the Bird Collegiate Rule.

Maneuvering to acquire  Kevin McHale and Robert Parish in 1980

The Celtics held the number-1 pick in the 1980 NBA draft. Instead, Red sent that pick to the Warriors in exchange for center, Robert Parish, and the 3rd pick in the draft. The Warriors chose Joe Barry Carroll with the first-overall pick, and the Celtics now had their Big-3 of Bird, Parish and McHale - and they took the 1981 Title.

Effectively picking up Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown  for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett

Danny Ainge followed Red Auerbach's lead on many decisions, but retaining stars past their prime was not one of them. Thus, in 2013, Danny sent Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Nets for several first-round draft picks - two of which brought in Tatum and Brown. At least for Ainge, this was his major coup. Whether it turns out to be the best all-time for the Boston Celtics remains to be seen, but it certainly is in the running.


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