This one will keep you tossing and turning at night, Nets fans.
While Brooklyn had Paul Pierce’s early Bird rights, meaning it could pay him more than any other team, he just wasn’t worth it.
So, according to ESPN New York’s Ohm Youngmisuk, Brooklyn "passed on" The Truth, leading Pierce to sign a two-year deal with the Washington Wizards.
Since when are the Nets into saving money?
Well, consider this: Along with the tax repercussions, keeping Pierce would have essentially cost Brooklyn what LeBron James cost the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In some other galaxy, perhaps one full of clover leafs and egregiously faux injuries, Pierce’s value might come close to that of James. But in this galaxy, Pierce is light-years away from equating to LBJ.
On the other hand, though, the Nets put out the most expensive roster in NBA history last year. Team owner Mikhail Prokhorov has more money than the Earth has oxygen, and the decision to suddenly adopt financial prudence is rather confusing.
Money aside, losing Pierce is a punch in the gut for a team that relied on his veteran leadership and one-on-one scoring last season. But money makes the world go round, and that’s what this decision keeps coming back to.
Here’s how Newsday’s Roderick Boone analyzed the Nets’ newfound frugality:
They are done spending millions as if they were playing with Monopoly money. Even though they surrendered three first-round picks to acquire Pierce and Kevin Garnett, they weren't about to spend all that money to bring back a player who turns 37 in October and whose skills are in decline.
Apparently, the Nets' hierarchy found reason to pause after nearly $200 million in payroll, luxury tax and amnesty payments bought five playoff wins and a second-round exit. The franchise reportedly lost upward of $144 million last season, and even for billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov, that can't sit too well.
From a basketball standpoint, letting Pierce go was a poor decision.
But turning the organization away from mindlessly throwing money around is a step in the right direction.
Basketball grade: F
Organizational grade: C+