You wouldn’t make the deal when you’re running back a playground game, but the suits in Boston are looking to the future, sending future HOFers Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to a Nets team that looks primed for a title run in 2014. The Nets now have All-Stars at every position—the starting five has a ridiculous 35 All-Star appearances between them—and with new coach Jason Kidd at the helm, they can play with anyone when healthy.
It’s a changing of the guard in Boston, though, as the youth movement takes over for an aging core. But all isn’t lost: the young’uns were raised by winners like Garnett and Pierce, so don’t call it a comeback when the Celtics are better than you think. They still have one of the most electric backcourts in the league, with Rajon Rondo running the show and crazy-athletic Avery Bradley in opposing point shirts 40 minutes a night. There are winning pieces with plenty of cap room here; if Rondo comes back 100%, and Bradley fulfills his unlimited potential, NBA royalty might once again wear the crown, and sooner than you think.