As he headed to the podium, Billy King fiddled with his iPhone before placing in it inside his pocket. His screen may have consisted of text messages, details of a blockbuster trade with the Boston Celtics that will land the Nets future Hall of Famers Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.
If that was indeed the case, King remained tight-lipped because of the NBA’s moratorium on trades and free agent signings that lasts until July 10.
Even though he did not offer any kind of comment, his smile seemed to indicate that what ESPN commentator Chris Broussard said had been agreed to in principle had actually happened.
“Nothing,” King said when asked if he could comment on the report. “I can’t go any further. Honestly I can’t. At the time when it’s appropriate, I will address but at this point in time I can’t.”
King may not have been able to mention the deal but when he can do so at a future press conference, the deal is believed to have the Nets sending Gerald Wallace, Reggie Evans, Tornike Shengalia and first-round picks in 2014, 2016 and 2018 to Boston. Additionally, the Nets will also do a sign and trade with Keith Bogans and will likely land former NBA champion Jason Terry.
The deal comes after a summer that saw the Nets spend well over $300 million to re-sign Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and acquire Joe Johnson in a big trade with the Hawks.
Assuming the deal does not collapse, the Nets will be adding approximately $32 million in salary while sending roughly $12.5 million to the Celtics, who in the last week have begun the rebuilding process following six straight postseason appearances with Pierce and Garnett.
That makes $81.5 million committed to their starting lineup. Johnson is due $21.5 million, Williams is owed $18.5 million and Lopez is owed $14.7 million.
The reason for Terry’s inclusion is that Boston was adamant about taking Wallace, who has three years and $30 million remaining on a contract extension he signed last summer after coming to Brooklyn from Portland in a 2012 trade deadline deal.
The Nets are already well over the cap but money does not seem to be an object for Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov. Upon purchasing the team, he plastered up a billboard opposite Madison Square Garden that read “The Blueprint for Greatness.”
Despite the names in the megadeal, the Nets will get a lot older when Garnett and Pierce officially join the team. Garnett turned 37 in May, Pierce and Terry will turn 36 in the two months before the regular season.
Conversely they all bring the leadership and toughness which is something lacking from the Nets last year when adversity hits. The most notable example came in Game 7 against the Bulls when they fell behind by 17 at halftime at home and various players copped to not having any energy in the first half.
Nets make Plumlee the pick
In other draft day news, King tapped into his Duke roots to select former Blue Devil Mason Plumlee with the 22nd pick. King said that the Nets war room had all sorts of scenarios to possibly trade up but stood pat when Plumlee dropped to 22.
Plumlee has never been to Brooklyn, didn’t workout for the team and had never met new head coach Jason Kidd before Thursday.
So what exactly does Plumlee do well?
“I rebound well,” Plumlee said. “I can really up and down the floor. I’m agile and I think all those things will show at the next level.”
And what doesn’t he do well?
“Things I have to work on, I have to knock down shots consistently, which is not something I did in college,” Plumlee said. . “I didn’t even attempt jump shots. I think that’s something that could add a whole dimension to game.”
Plumlee comes to the Nets after spending four seasons with Duke. While at King’s alma mater, he was a 2012-13 consensus second-team All-American, who averaged 17.1 points and 9.9 rebounds as a senior.
“We are very excited about Mason,” said new head coach Jason Kidd, who labeled him a ‘coaches’ dream.’ “We got the best player available at that spot.
Plumlee did not work out for the Nets and expected to go between 10 and 20. He worked out at the Chicago combine and had one interview with the Nets but the surprise of being picked by Brooklyn was certainly exciting for the 23-year-old 7-foot-1 forward.
“I’m so excited,” Plumlee said. “I’m looking forward to summer league, camp. All that is coming at me so fast, I’m just excited about it. A lot of emotions, but I couldn’t be happier with the result.”