Let's talk Nets title chase, but first, let's talk some history.
If there is one thing the NBA learned from the 2012-13 Lakers, it is that you never anoint a champion prematurely.
After acquiring Steve Nash and turning Andrew Bynum into Dwight Howard, the Lakers were early favorites to win this past season's NBA championship. But untimely injuries and a coaching change derailed what looked to be one of the most promising rosters we have seen in some time.
So Nets fans should view their team through a lens with a proven theory: a team will only go as far as its head coach and good health can carry them.
Pulling the trigger on a trade that nets the Nets two first ballot Hall-of-Famers is a no brainer, even if they are over the hill. And while the details of the trade are still being contested in some reports, the details are simply not as important.
The Nets will feature a starting lineup of five players who have each made an NBA All-Star team.
When coach Jason Kidd was introduced to the media just a few weeks ago, many wondered whether coach Kidd was in over his head, being charged with the task of leading a team that had championship aspirations and was coming off of a 49-win season that some viewed as a disappointment.
And now, with the Nets having agreed in principle to a trade that will see them acquire Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry from the Boston Celtics, Kidd will be charged with the task of collectively molding a starting five of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Pierce, Garnett and Brook Lopez into a basketball machine.
But that is a task that any of the NBA's other 29 head coaches would happily sign up for.
After Billy King re-signed Deron Williams last summer and traded for Joe Johnson, he was awarded with a contract extension that assured him the opportunity of building a championship roster around Williams.
He passed with flying colors.
They are three proud leaders.
They are three champions.
Their pedigree and collective heart were some elements that were sorely lacking from last year's Nets team—heart, passion and a determination to win, at all costs.
That weakness has been fortified.
No, Garnett cannot play 35 minutes-per-game anymore. Pierce cannot score 25 points-per-game at will, but they can still play major roles on a championship team.
For the Nets, the opportunity to pull the trigger on such a deal was a no-brainer, and so is picking the Nets to dethrone the New York Knicks as the Atlantic Division champions next season.
And now, all eyes are on Coach Kidd to make this work.
After losing to the Knicks in the first round of last season's playoffs, Celtics general manager Danny Ainge began aggressively shopping Pierce and Garnett, hoping to acquire assets that would help the Celtics begin a new era in which the team builds around point guard Rajon Rondo and small forward Jeff Green.
After a proposed deal that would have sent Garnett to the Los Angeles Clippers failed to materialize, Ainge began making calls, seeking the best offer for Garnett. Garnett, who has a right of refusal over any proposed trade that he is involved in, blessed the move to Brooklyn, since it allows him to continue to play with Pierce and play for a team that should be a contender.
The Nets were one of the few teams around the league that Garnett would have approved a trade to, but also had the requisite draft picks and young players it was willing to trade, and the ability to take on salary that the Celtics needed to pull the trigger on such a move.
Now, the Nets are here.
Where they go remains to be seen.
But where they hope to go, they now have a few who have been there before.
Three difference makers. Three leaders.
But before they can say, "Hello, title chase!" their new head coach will have to prove himself to be a coaching prodigy.
While there are some obvious concerns about Pierce and Garnett's ability to stay healthy and a perimeter defense capable of stopping some of the conference's more explosive players such as Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, Carmelo Anthony, Paul George and obviously, LeBron James, the Nets just got much, much better.
It will not be easy.
But it is a task that Pierce and Garnett will make easier and it is a task that any of the NBA's other 29 teams—and coaches—would be happy to have.
Hello Pierce. Hello Garnett.
Hello, coach Kidd.
Hello, expectations, indeed.