ESPN.com is reporting that the Boston Celtics have traded Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets for a package including three first-round picks, Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries' expiring contract.
Acquiring Garnett and Pierce makes the Brooklyn Nets one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, but the move doesn't put the team head and shoulders above the Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat.
The Nets' starting five is star-studded, but not extremely athletic or young. The average age of the team's expected starting five when the 2013-14 season begins will be 31.8 years old.
Here's how that compares to the average age of the projected starters for the Pacers, Bulls and Heat.
Brooklyn's starting unit would clearly be oldest of the major contenders in the East. It isn't crazy to think that the San Antonio Spurs' advanced age was the reason they couldn't finish the Heat in the NBA Finals.
The overall athleticism level of the starting five isn't very high. Williams is a good, but not great athlete; the same could be said for Joe Johnson. Age has removed any elite athleticism from Pierce and KG and Brook Lopez was never much of a run-and-jump athlete to begin with.
Where will the Nets finish in the East?
Defensively, this team could struggle to guard teams with uber-athletic players like LeBron James, Derrick Rose and Paul George. If there are multiple matchups on the floor that create athletic mismatches, then it will weaken the Nets' entire defense.
Another potential issue for the Nets is durability. While the five stars only missed a combined 36 games during the 2012-13 season, their advanced age could bring more physical issues.
At the very least, most—if not all—of them will need rest throughout the season to preserve their bodies for a playoff run.
That brings up another important variable in the Nets' potential title run.
With a rookie head coach who has no prior coaching experience, will the Nets' roster be handled properly? Will he favor the veterans so much that he doesn't prepare or motivate the younger players?
Will Jason Kidd run the veterans in the ground and render them ineffective once the postseason rolls around?
Most importantly, is Kidd ready for the chess matches with the Bulls' Tom Thibodeau, the Pacers' Frank Vogel and the Heat's Erik Spoelstra in potential playoff series?
Perhaps Kidd will make a smooth transition from player to coach, but this is far from a given. While Nets fans should be excited about the upcoming season and pleased with ownership for chasing a title, this group will have its share of weaknesses.
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