The NBA deadline was hectic, confusing and above all else full of surprises. In a somewhat surprising move, the Nets shipped Kevin Garnett back home to Minnesota for 6'8" power forward Thaddeus Young and based on any metric, it was a heck of a trade by Billy King.
The financial implications alone make this a good deal for Brooklyn. Young makes about $9.1 million this season compared to Garnett's $12 million. The move will save the Nets roughly $10 million in salary and luxury taxes ($7 mil in tax, $2.6 mil in salary). The luxury tax bill sits at a foreboding $19 million, but Brooklyn is dedicated to cutting costs and has shown it by moves like this.
Then there's the player himself: Thaddeus Young. Brooklyn essentially flipped an aging former superstar for a player who is twelve years younger, is more affordable and is head and shoulders a better player at this point in their respective careers. As the season has progressed, Garnett's play has diminished and his minutes have been reduced to the point where he's only playing 15.6 minutes per game in February. The 26-year-old Young can step in and easily give Brooklyn 30 minutes per game.
Young is an interesting player in the sense that he's not the typical size of an NBA power forward. At 6'8", 220 lbs, he is undersized for the four even in today's ever-increasingly small-ball league. He can be bullied on the defensive end by bigger power forwards, is not much of a rim protector and offensively does not stretch the floor much (his career three-point shooting percentage is 31.9% with a career high of 34.8% set in the 2009-10 season).
What Young does give the Nets is youth and athleticism, something Brooklyn desperately needs. He boasts great athleticism and quickness, is an effective player in transition and can make any highlight reel with his above the rim play. Young is also a solid on the ball defender (he's averaged 2.1 and 1.8 steals per game the last two seasons) despite his deficiencies in size and rim protection. He's basically everything KG is not and everything Brooklyn needs right now.
Take a look at one of his best games from last season...
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Young is certainly not the complete cure for all that ails the Nets, but he's a young, dynamic player that can join the likes of Mason Plumlee, Bojan Bogdanovic and Sergey Karasev in the effort to rebuild the Nets' antique core.