Nets GM Billy King discusses team’s acquisition of Garnett, Pierce

Nets GM Billy King put the chances at "10 percent" for his team to make a trade. Credit: Getty Images
Nets GM Billy King spoke on Friday about the NBA’s biggest offseason trade.
Credit: Getty Images

Nets general manager Billy King issued coy smiles on draft night when asked if he could confirm various reports he had acquired Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, along with Jason Terry, in a blockbuster trade with the Celtics.

Fifteen days later, King’s smiles turned to confirmation as the Nets officially announced the trade. They will introduce them at a press conference Thursday at the Barclays Center.

“I think it will help solidify our team for this offseason going forward,” King said in the opening statement of a conference call on Friday afternoon. “It gives us some very versatile players, some very smart, basketball IQ players, defensive players, toughness.

“The biggest thing is that it gives us guys who really want to win and will help us get to where we want to get to,” King said. “So it’s a very exciting day for the franchise and I think our fans should thank [owner] Mikhail Prokhorov for everything that he’s done to help us get here.”

The official trade involved the Nets sending Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, Kris Joseph, Keith Bogans and three first-round draft picks (2014, 2016 and 2018). They will also have the right to swap first-round picks in 2017, while the Nets also receive D.J. White from the Celtics.

“Today, the basketball gods smiled on the Nets,” Prokhorov said in a statement. “With the arrival of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, we have achieved a great balance on our roster between veteran stars and young talents. This team will be dazzling to watch, and tough to compete against.”

The Nets were rumored to be trying to acquire Pierce at the February trade deadline. Talks continued with Celtics general manager Danny Ainge about Pierce but once they got close on that end, King inquired about Garnett. After some hesitation by Ainge, the sides were comfortable and the trade was eventually completed.

Once Ainge agreed to make the deal, the next step was recruiting Garnett to waive his no-trade clause. That involved recruiting pitches from new head coach Jason Kidd and starting point guard Deron Williams.

King also reached out to Garnett’s agent, Marc Fleisher, and halfway through the first round on draft night, he got the word Garnett was interested in Brooklyn.

Even though King did not have a problem convincing Garnett, he sounded amazed and surprised that the trade actually happened. He also conceded to having some trepidation about surrendering so many draft picks.

“Did I think we were going to pull something off? No,” King said. “From the beginning, no, but Danny and I kept working at it and got to the point where we both felt comfortable.”

Garnett’s stance was different from 2007 when he was traded from Minnesota. That year the Celtics were coming off 24-win campaign that included an 18-game losing streak and talks of Pierce being traded. According to books written on the championship Celtics in 2008, Garnett was deliberate in deciding even getting Ainge to make a sales pitch at his home in Malibu, Calif.

The difference in Brooklyn is the caliber of team. The Nets are coming off a 49-win season and though they lost Game 7 of their first-round series at home to Chicago, the composition of the roster seemed to make the decision easier in King’s estimation.

“I was just thinking of the fact that we were going to have a pretty good team and that we were going to be committed to win and do what it took to win,” King said. “That’s what Kevin’s all about. I know his loyalty was to Boston and their fans and he’s always been that way with the fans in Minnesota.

“So I just felt if we did things the right way, that if we’re first class, he would be willing to join us.”

The finality of the trade caps a whirlwind month for the Nets, who introduced Kidd on June 13. The official confirmation of the trade comes after the Nets announced Thursday that Andray Blatche re-signed and free agents Shaun Livingston and Andrei Kirilenko were coming aboard.

The next step is integrating all the pieces, which, as evidenced by LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade’s first year together in Miami, took time. They were 9-8 through 17 games and lost a title in their first year before winning the last two championships.

“I would say right now, that’s the biggest concern you have is chemistry and how quickly that they will jell and be able to play together,” King said.

However, Garnett quickly meshed with Pierce and Ray Allen in 2007. The Celtics won their first eight games and 13 of 15 games in the first month.

King is confident the experiences from that year will translate for Garnett and Pierce in Brooklyn.

“The one thing that helps us is that every one of the guys we’ve added has very good basketball IQ and they’re all very unselfish and make good passes with the basketball,” King said. “And when you get that, that tends to make it a lot easier because the ball tends to move and you just play basketball and you’re not concerned with anything else.”

Follow Nets beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Local

De Blasio, Bratton defend city's efforts after Eric…

Mayor Bill de Blasio justified the city's response to the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died while in police custody earlier this month.

National

PHOTO: New Zealand Heral uses wrong image to…

The New Zealand Herald made a terrible mistake of using the wrong image to illustrate the tragic death of Staff Sergeant Guy Boyland – a New Zealand-born Israeli soldier who…

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.