“Gerald Wallace’s contract is terrible,” Bill Simmons said in his initial diagnosis of the trade that sent Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn in return for Wallace and three first round picks. “It’s $30 million for three years. That’s a big contract to take on for three number 1 picks that aren’t lottery picks.”
He lamented the loss of lifetime Celtic Paul Pierce, as well as Kevin Garnett, who he predicted would also get his number retired. “I thought this was 35 cents on the dollar.”
Today, after the Nets were eliminated, Simmons sang a different tune:
If KG retires (likely) and PP leaves (likely), then the Nets gave up 3 unprotected firsts + a 2017 pick swap for 5 playoff wins. #ouch
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) May 15, 2014
It’s understandable that Simmons was emotionally devastated when the trade went down. It’s always brutal when your favorite players are no longer with the team, and there’s an especially sentimental attachment that persists long after careers are over when you know that you did not have to share them with other fan bases. That being said, appending a mea culpa to Danny Ainge would’ve been appropriate.
Update (and my mea culpa): As a commenter points out, Simmons did later write about understanding the basketball motives behind Ainge’s decision:
Danny Ainge went the other way, just as he always hinted he would because of his experience watching the Big Three grow old. I get it. I understand it. Down the road, I’m sure I will appreciate it. But right now? It hurts like hell. Paul Pierce was our dude. We spent 15 seasons with him in all, and as I wrote after Game 6 of the 2008 Finals, “We watched that guy grow up. We watched him become a man. We believed in him, we gave up on him, and we believed in him again.” Some things are bigger than sports.
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