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Nets absolutely bamboozled Raptors in DeMarre Carroll trade

The Brooklyn Nets made their second absolutely shocking trade of the summer on Saturday night, reportedly acquiring veteran wing DeMarre Carroll as well as a 2018 first and second-round pick from the Toronto Raptors for reserve center Justin Hamilton.

This comes on the heels of Brooklyn acquiring D’Angelo Russell and former Los Angeles Lakers free agent bust Timofey Mozgov in exchange for a first-round pick in last month’s draft and Brook Lopez.

It’s the latest example of up-and-coming general manager Sean Marks utilizing his team’s excess of cap space to acquire young assets and draft picks. And it really caught the NBA world by surprise.

Simply put, Brooklyn took advantage of a less-than-stellar Raptors cap situation and bamboozled the team into giving up two high-value draft picks. While the 2018 first rounder is lottery protected, there’s every reason to believe Toronto will make the playoffs in 2017-18.

It enables the Nets to add a first rounder in a draft they yielded their original selection to Boston in the infamous Paul Pierce-Kevin Garnett trade years back.

Brooklyn now has one first round and two second-round selections in next year’s draft. All it cost the team was the $30-plus million owed to Carroll over the next two seasons — money the Nets themselves can afford to take on.

No one is going to sit back and predict Brooklyn to make the playoffs this upcoming season. It still boasts the least-talented roster in the entire Association. But for Marks and Co. it represents a sound philosophy in an organization that has lacked direction over the past several seasons.

Following the Washington Wizards’ decision to match Brooklyn’s max offer sheet to Otto Porter Jr., the Nets still have enough financial capital to add another bad contract for future draft pick compensation.

Then again, the team might very well be able to make a play for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who is now an unrestricted free agent after the Detroit Pistons renounced their rights to him. Such a bold move would require Brooklyn to buy out Mozgov and/or Carroll, both of whom were simply thrown-ins as a way for the Nets to swing impressive deals this summer.

For his part, the 30-year-old Carroll could actually play a valuable role for an otherwise young Nets team. Despite recent injury issues, he remains one of the better on-ball perimeter defenders in the NBA.

Remember, Toronto signed him to that massive contract back in 2015 as a way to match up against LeBron James after the wing performed well for Atlanta in the playoffs against James that spring.

The longer-term vision for Brooklyn is clear here. Stockpile young players and future assets as a way to rebuild the team from the ground up. It will start with Russell being handed the keys to the kingdom this upcoming season. But we won’t fully grasp the end result in Brooklyn for years.

In terms of the Raptors, they clearly admitted signing Carroll a couple years ago with a major mistake. Kudos for that. But it came at the cost of two value draft picks as a way for ownership to avoid paying into the luxury tax. That’s most definitely not a recipe for success in the Eastern Conference.

The argument here is that Toronto would have been better off sucking it up and paying the luxury tax. That would have potentially enabled the team to move these two picks for an upgrade to compete with Cleveland back east in 2017-18. After all, the team did just hand a 31-year-old Kyle Lowry $30 million annually.

In today’s NBA landscape, it’s about either going all in or preparing for a future that doesn’t include Golden State and Cleveland dominating each conference. At this point, the Raptors have proven themselves to be stuck in between. There’s no happy medium here. And Saturday’s trade proves that to a T.